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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Washington Partners with City on Yearlong Livability Program

The University of Washington has begun a yearlong partnership with the City of Auburn under the new Livable City Year program. Students and professors in the School of Public Health and other UW programs will work with the city to advance its goals for livability and sustainability in the upcoming academic year.

The program connects local governments with UW classes to address community-identified areas of need. In this inaugural year, faculty will lead students to work on 15 to 20 projects identified by the City of Auburn. They involve public works, community development, urban planning and more.

Jennifer Otten_ASPPH

[Photo: Dr. Jennifer Otten ]

“This program provides students with an opportunity to tackle meaningful and challenging real-world problems,” said Dr. Jennifer Otten, co-founder and co-director of the new program as well as an assistant professor of health services and core faculty member of the nutritional sciences program. “Projects addressed in these UW class and city collaborations directly affect the health and well-being of the city’s population. Students will gain an introduction to the civic process and get an opportunity to become better engaged with local communities.”

The cross-university collaboration is led by Dr. Otten alongside Dr. Branden Born, an associate professor of urban design and planning at the College of Built Environments. UW Sustainability, Urban@UW and Undergraduate Academic Affairs are other collaborators.

Livable City Year is based on the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year program and is a member of the Educational Partners for Innovation in Communities Network.

“By connecting many courses over one academic year to projects that address the partner city’s specific goals, Livable City Year can have broad impacts that are difficult for faculty to achieve on their own,” Dr. Born said. “Livable City Year gives faculty across many disciplines a chance to work together in a fully collaborative UW effort.”