designBridge: Integrating Transportation into Service Learning Design/Build Projects

Nico Larco, University of Oregon



This proposal develops transportation-related projects through the work of designBridge. This active, student-based organization is composed of members from the University of Oregon’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts working cooperatively with participants from the UO’s Planning, Public Policy and Management, Landscape Architecture, Geography, and Art departments. The program provides an opportunity for students to gain valuable, real-world experience by encouraging them to explore significant design issues in the community, to seek appropriate solutions to transportation problems, and to develop professional skills. Students are engaged in all phases of the design and building process, from the first client meeting through construction and on to the ribbon cutting. designBridge has established a precedent within the community for developing successful transportation solutions. Collaboration between college students, parents, children, university partners, and professional associates has led to the successful design and completion of one local bike shelter and another is scheduled to begin construction in the spring term. These shelters have encouraged alternative transportation, reduced congestion during peak drop-off hours, educated both designBridge members and community participants about the health and environmental benefits of biking to school, and promoted a noteworthy increase in ridership at the schools. In the fall of 2008, the Harris and Eastside elementary schools, upon becoming included in the Safe Routes to Schools program, realized an increased need for appropriate bike storage and security. The funding from this proposal would allow designBridge to develop a bike shelter for Harris/Eastside. designBridge and the parents at Harris/Eastside see an opportunity to increase elementary school ridership by integrating the service-learning module of designBridge with the unique project-based learning infrastructure of Harris/Eastside. The partnership of these two organizations will result in even more cross-disciplinary collaboration and community participation than in earlier bike-shelter projects. This ultimately will lead to greater ridership, an improved school environment, and healthier children and communities. The proposed grant would create an opportunity for designBridge members to work in tandem with a variety of community and educational contacts and increase collective knowledge about the benefits of alternative transportation. By building on the knowledge gained from completed precedents, designBridge will be given the chance to craft ever-better solutions to growing transportation and planning issues in local neighborhoods.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
End Date:
March 31,2010
UTC Grant Cycle:
OTREC 2010
UTC Funding: