Skip to Content

Project Cities puts student talent on the map

ASU Now | January 14, 2020

The city of Apache Junction, Arizona has a complicated relationship with the 125 mobile home and RV parks within its city limits. Some of the parks are well managed and provide an attractive, affordable option for low income residents. But many are deteriorating, unsightly and do not conform to contemporary city codes, presenting a detriment to Apache Junction’s image as it works to attract visitors and boost economic growth.

In an effort to address this, the city partnered with the new-at-the-time Arizona State University program Project Cities, a program launched in 2017 to “connect higher education with local communities, creating a powerful combination of knowledge and know-how.” Apache Junction was the inaugural community partner during the 2017–18 academic year and renewed its partnership through the spring 2019 semester.

Continue Reading

Another successful semester concludes with Project Cities Student Showcase

December 9, 2019

Project Cities Student ShowcaseOur Fall 2019 semester boasted a robust mix of 7 projects with nine classes of Arizona State University students. The Project Cities (PC) program connects students and faculty from the university with Arizona municipalities to collaborate on developing potential solutions to local sustainability challenges the communities face. This semester, students partnered with three communities: the City of Glendale, City of Peoria, and Town of Clarkdale on seven projects with the help of 150 students across 10 classes.

This semester’s showcase featured the following projects:

Continue Reading

Conservation Solutions Laboratory scientists pen new commentary

View Source | September 24, 2019

Aerial view of deforestationMichael Brown, Samantha Cheng and Jim Tolisano, along with dozens of conservation and development researchers and practitioners representing ASU's Conservation Solutions Lab, have penned a new opinion piece, released September 24, 2019, on Mongabay. The scientists call for a crucial change in the way conservation efforts are undertaken.

The scientists argue that conservation efforts must specifically engage frontline communities – those people intimately situated in and around landscapes targeted for conservation – and elevate their role such that they can take the lead in planning and directing nature conservation.

Co-developing solutions with frontline communities requires groups that fund, implement and research conservation to revise their role and approach. In addition, learning from community experiences and adapting solutions over time can improve conservation efforts globally.

Project Cities-Glendale partnership begins its second year with new projects

September 21, 2019

Students going through guided tour of the City of Glendale’s Materials Recovery FacilityThe Project Cities-Glendale partnership is now entering its the second year, collaborating with Arizona State University students and faculty on contemporary sustainability challenges in the community. Over the last year, we have completed five projects, working with eight ASU classes, eight faculty and 108 students. The past projects covered an array of topics, including sustainable facilities, above-ground storage tank safety and compliance, fleet electrification, community engagement and social media policy.

Continue Reading

Arizona Planning Association chapter conference recap

September 16, 2019

AZ Planning Association members holding plaqueThe Sustainable Cities Network and ASU Project Cities attended the AZ Planning Association (AZ APA) State Conference from September 11 to 13, 2019. The conference is an annual gathering of planning professionals from both the public and private sectors to share best practices and celebrate successes. Several fascinating workshops were offered in four main areas: Nuts & Bolts, Environment, Transportation and Communities.

Former Project Cities student Maggie Dellow, PC Program Manager Steve Russell, Rudy Esquivias of Apache Junction, and Meagan Ehlenz from the School of Geographic Sciences and Urban Planning delivered a panel discussion on Friday morning to a packed house of over 100 attendees. The session highlighted a spring 2019 research project conducted by Dellow as her capstone project with the ASU Master in Urban and Environmental Planning Program. This was Dellow’s third public presentation of her research with Project Cities; past presentations were delivered to the Apache Junction City Council during a work session meeting (time 26:59 - 50:50), as well as to the ASU community via the Project Cities Spring 2019 End of Semester Showcase (time 1:05:36 -1:21:13).

Continue Reading

Project Cities launches new partnership with City of Peoria

September 13, 2019

Placemaking in Peoria event Fall 2019The new semester means new projects and partnerships for Arizona State University’s Project Cities. This August marks the inauguration of our newest partner, the City of Peoria. For their first year, we’ve matched five unique projects with a great multidisciplinary team of ASU students and faculty. Project Cities recently held a kickoff event with Peoria, as well as a site visit with another partner community, Glendale, to launch these new initiatives.

Continue Reading

Project Cities–Glendale: first round of summary reports released

August 5, 2019

Glendale Fall 2019 Final Reports

In the Fall 2018 semester, ASU Project Cities convened 47 Arizona State University students across five classes to collaborate with the City of Glendale on three unique community development projects. Following a fulfilling semester, the PC team is excited to share the completion of our Project Summary Reports which document the experience and provide a digestible, action-oriented guide to the high level strategies and recommendations posed by our students.

Continue Reading

Project Cities and Apache Junction celebrate advances in project implementation

July 23, 2019

Happy dog with a big tongueThe partnership between Arizona State University’s Project Cities program and the City of Apache Junction has been a successful, enduring one since the program’s conception in 2017. We are proud to have collaborated with Apache Junction on eight projects across 13 classes, with 213 ASU students since fall 2017. With all of the work our ASU students and faculty have completed, we are excited to see some real impacts begin to come about at the city, informed by Project Cities students’ research and recommendations!

While all the projects our students have completed with the City have proven informative, there are a few that have made significant progress since ASU’s involvement began: A proposal for an off-leash dog park, an RFP-based system overhaul for solid waste management, and a General Plan update incorporating sustainability. The first two started as student proposals from the fall 2017 semester, the third from spring 2018.

Continue Reading

Peoria and Project Cities lay groundwork for promising academic year

July 5, 2019

picture of peoria on mapCampus tends to slow down over the summer, but not at the Sustainable Cities Network. We’re hard at work preparing for the upcoming school year with our newest Project Cities partners: Peoria and Clarkdale. We had the opportunity to deliver remarks about the partnership at last week’s city council meeting. We are happy to share that Peoria City Council officially passed an important procedural milestone: the city approved adoption of the inter-governmental agreement that formalizes their partnership with ASU Project Cities.

Continue Reading

Watch video: Apache Junction and Project Cities partnership

June 26, 2019

moon above mountain in Apache JunctionThe Project Cities program would not be what it is today were it not for its partnership with the City of Apache Junction. As the inaugural partner during the Fall 2017 semester, the city was there from the very beginning. Since then, the two have collaborated on eight projects across 13 classes with 213 total students.

Many of these projects and the work the students produced with them have been further developed by the city and are making a real, tangible impact, allowing both the students and community to benefit. The time, effort and resources dedicated by the City of Apache Junction have resulted in an invaluable partnership that delivers on the ASU Charter and New American University Design Aspirations.

Continue Reading

Project Cities students continue to impress in end-of-semester spring showcase

May 8, 2019

Project Cities Student group photoAs the spring semester came to an end, Arizona State University students shared the work they had been doing with Project Cities in partnership with the City of Glendale and the City of Apache Junction. The Project Cities program works to connect local cities with ASU students, faculty directors and academic courses to research and propose solutions to sustainability challenges affecting the communities.

Students from four classes worked with the program this semester. Albert Brown, an instructor in The Polytechnic School's Environmental and Resource Management program, taught 39 students in ERM 401/501 Hazardous Waste Management to lead the development of a project outline and work plan for the City of Glendale involving above ground storage tank inventory and compliance.

Continue Reading

Sustainability scientist serves on new environmental economics advisory committee

April 22, 2019

Keryy SmithASU faculty helps establish research organization to strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to assess social benefits and costs of environmental policies

Policies on air pollution, climate change and water have far-reaching effects on millions of Americans and businesses. Is the Environmental Protection Agency ─ the federal agency whose mission is to protect public health and the environment ─ using the best available economic science when designing and proposing such policy? The newly created External Environmental Economics Advisory Committee (E-EEAC) will convene nationally recognized environmental economists to ensure that it does.

Continue Reading

University-city partnerships: Paving new paths for students’ success

April 15, 2019

Zhihao Chen and Saskia Kemp standing in front of project cities posterAt Arizona State University, students are presented with many opportunities to gain hands-on experience in their field by learning outside of the classroom. One of these is our relatively young Project Cities (PC) program. PC helps students develop professional skills, apply classroom knowledge to real-world projects, and build networks with other students and professionals with local municipalities. A total of 21 classes and 329 students have participated in Project Cities over the course of four semesters since the program started in fall 2017.

PC staff interviewed two ASU students who had been involved in our program multiple times about their experiences with Project Cities. The first of these was Zhihao Chen, an entrepreneur and recent graduate from ASU’s Environmental Resource Management (ERM) program. The other was Saskia Kemp, a senior, also in the ERM program with a minor in Sustainability.

Continue Reading

Project Cities and Peoria work to conserve water

View Source | March 25, 2019

Sign about reclaimed water in Peoria, AZOn Cronkite News, see how Project Cities is working with the city of Peoria (the program's 2019-2020 community partner) to use water wisely. The video news story also touches on a previous Project Cities initiative with former partner Apache Junction.

"We all use water, and we need to have a better understanding of how we consume the water and what we are going to do to encourage further decrease in water consumption," said Lisa Estrada, sustainability manager for the City of Peoria. By collaborating with Project Cities, Peoria will create plans for water shortage response and water conservation.

Continue Reading

ASU and Oakland A's launch sustainability partnership at Hohokam Stadium

February 25, 2019

Man holding baseball in Hohokam StadiumThe Oakland Athletics and Arizona State University's School of Sustainability announced a partnership to help Hohokam Stadium maximize sustainability efforts and move toward zero waste during the 2019 spring training season.

Hohokam Stadium, the spring training home of the Oakland A's, will be the focus of the "Recycle Rally" initiative that will test and implement zero waste strategies with the goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience. The unique partnership launched on February 21, when the A's hosted the Seattle Mariners at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona.

Continue Reading

ASU Project Cities announces 2019-2020 community partner

February 7, 2019

ASU Project Cities is proud to announce our 2019-2020 Community Partner: The City of Peoria!

Peoria AZ logoPeoria is home to more than 171,000 residents and was ranked the number one place to live in Arizona by Money Magazine. With numerous recreational attractions, the city is well known as a family-oriented, active community with an exceptional quality of life. The city has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability, as evidenced by its directive to incorporate LEED building design standards, a council-adopted Sustainability Action Plan, and a dedicated full-time staff person to manage and coordinate organization-wide sustainability initiatives.

Continue Reading

Ask a climate scientist: what communities want to know about climate

January 11, 2019

People sitting around round tables talking at SCN/AMS conferenceA spacious Marriott conference room, six round tables with every seat filled, each table with a designated sign, including “Community Planning for Climate Change” or “Weather and Climate Monitoring.” This was the setting where stakeholders interested in the intersection of cities and climate met. At the American Meteorological Society annual conference, climate experts and Arizona State University Sustainable Cities Network partners were brought together to discuss local questions about climate change. Twelve climate experts were selected to lead roundtable discussions on six different topics chosen by cities.

Continue Reading

Project Cities celebrates successful fall semester at student showcase

December 17, 2018

Student standing and smiling near poster presentation during discussion with Glendale city officialArizona State University Project Cities held its end-of-semester fall student showcase with the City of Glendale at ASU Wrigley Hall on November 28, 2018.

Project Cities is a young program at ASU that celebrates the power of project-based learning and the value of a client-centered educational experience for students. Project Cities aims to create value for students, faculty and local communities by drawing connections between university resources and real-world municipal sustainability challenges. Over the course of the 2018 fall semester, ASU students, faculty and City of Glendale staff worked collaboratively to address several environmental, social and economic sustainability challenges.

At the showcase, students from multiple ASU campuses and five different classes presented their research findings through engaging presentations and posters. One project generated best practices and drafted policies to support the city’s plan to hire their first full-time social media manager. Other projects proposed the creation of a youth civic engagement committee, provided recommendations for a new sustainable facilities master plan and more.

Continue Reading

Involving youth in multi-generational community engagement

November 20, 2018

Glendale multi-generational community engagement"Every young person can recall cringing as their elders embark on a “You kids have it so easy. Back in my day…” tale. And for many things, yes, perhaps life was more difficult; but this does not mean the youth do not continue to face their own unique set of challenges. Civic engagement is an area where many young people do not feel they belong and have trouble involving themselves. With the initiative of Project Cities, Arizona State University students and the City of Glendale worked to address this.

Continue Reading

Project Cities students put their social media skills to use for the City of Glendale

October 30, 2018

Arizona State University’s fall 2018 Project Cities program social media plan presentationDo you think you're social media-savvy? In this digital age, it seems you must be in order to stay on top of the latest trends. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn — these are classics that any seasoned veteran would know at this point. TikTok, Periscope, Marco Polo, Voxer… maybe not so much. In order to navigate this web of social media platforms and procedures, the City of Glendale worked with students from Arizona State University’s fall 2018 Project Cities program on a social media plan.

Continue Reading