Collaboration between Universities and Cities to Create Sustainable Communities

Students in the Sustainable Cities Initiative present their bicycle research
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 9:00am to 10:00am PDT
Marc Schlossberg and Nico Larco, University of Oregon
Free and open to the public

Please join us for a free webcast on Thursday, October 2, 2014 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM Eastern Time, or 9:00 to 10:00 am Pacific.

This webcast is hosted by the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida and presented by Marc Schlossberg and Nico Larco of the University of Oregon. USF and UO are both member universities in the NITC program.

The presentation relates to Larco and Schlossberg's NITC research about the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP).

Pre-registration is not required. For those unable to attend, the webcast will be recorded and available within 48 hours at


Transportation agencies are grappling with new and unfamiliar issues within their domain, from addressing big problems like climate change to focusing on accessibility, where land use, urban design, and active transportation modes are more important. These challenges come at a time when the resources necessary to meet them are scarce and many agency staff members are reaching retirement.

At the same time, Universities continue to attract a new generation of students who are not only comfortable and familiar with these new concepts, but are eager for a workplace that embraces this multi-disciplinary environment.  Many university students are desperately hungry to engage in experiential learning where their learning and fresh thinking could be directed toward real-world problems, but opportunities where their energy can make an actual impact are rare and typically isolated by discipline.

This talk focuses on a unique experiment begun in Oregon and now being adapted in seventeen States and two countries  that simultaneously trains students from across disciplines for careers engaged with transportation issues and helps local cities move forward with a variety of livability efforts.  Each year, the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) works with a single city and connects 25-30 courses across 10-12 disciplines, 500+ students, and 60,000+ hours of effort to community projects identified by city staff.  The scale of engagement matters and because the model is based on existing classes taught by existing faculty in their existing ways, it is an extremely replicable model to all types of institutions and their particular sets of expertise. Transportation projects have been a core part of the work and have come from planning, engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, digital arts, public administration, geography, economics, journalism, arts administration, and law – an unprecedented diversity of disciplined focusing on real-world, city-identified needs.

In 2010, the New York Times called the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) “perhaps the most comprehensive effort by a U.S. university to infuse sustainability into its curricula and community outreach,” and in 2013, the Chronicle of Higher Education called the model “one of higher education’s most successful and comprehensive service-learning programs.”   This talk will provide additional details of this catalytic learning model, explain how it works, and lay out how universities and communities can work together in new ways to meet our changing transportation challenges.



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Main Image Caption: 
Students in the Sustainable Cities Initiative present their bicycle research