UO's sustainable cities program seeks next city partner
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The University of Oregon's Sustainable Cities Year Program is looking for its next partner.
The University of Oregon's Sustainable Cities Year Program is looking for its next city partner.
The program, part of the school's award-winning Sustainable Cities Initiative, pairs faculty and students for a full academic year with city government officials. Together the teams tackle a variety of sustainability-related issues that the city is working — including urban planning and design, social equity and environmental programs.
The next city will be selected by the program next year and work will begin in fall 2013. The request for proposals went live on the UO's website Monday.
Most recently, the program worked with the city of Springfield. Prior to that, Salem and Gresham both participated.
During the current academic year, students and faculty will be working with the transportation districts for both Springfield and Salem.
"We're responding to the interest we're hearing from past partners," said Bob Choquette, Sustainable Cities Year program manager. "They want to re-engage with us."
Choquette added that there are also conversations with Gresham underway about potentially doing some follow-up work there. Gresham was the program's guinea pig in 2010.
Choquette was hired in March to run the program.
Robert Liberty, a high-profile hire by the university announced in January 2011. Liberty, who left the Metro Council to run the Sustainable Cities Initiative, is now working part-time for the program in a research capacity.
In addition to working with cities, the program will also consider counties, districts or regional partnerships.
The UO touts its work with Salem through the partnership program which officials say saved the city $400,000 a year in garbage fees after work by students in an industrial ecology class.
The university devotes the work of about 500 students across 10 disciplines and around 25 classes to the partner city during the academic year. Students and faculty take on about 15 city-identified projects over the course of the year.
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