May 16, 2016

A powerful educational tool that also achieves planning results for communities is spreading from Oregon to universities around the world.

The Sustainable City Year Program, or SCYP, is part of the Sustainable Cities Initiative, a cross-disciplinary organization supported by NITC and based at the University of Oregon.

With the guidance provided in a new NITC report, replicating the program will be easier than ever.

What makes the SCYP so successful is its unique approach to teaching: students in various disciplines are recruited to work on real-world projects and create solutions for communities, free of charge. Community partners are chosen through a competitive selection process. 

In a NITC technology transfer project, "Disseminating the Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP) Educational Model," the program’s co-founders Nico Larco and Marc Schlossberg have published a specific set of strategies and resources to help universities construct similar experience-based learning programs.

  • Download the report here.

"One of the great things...

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Apr 20, 2016

Alexis Biddle, a graduate student at the University of Oregon, has been named a 2016 Eno Fellow and will participate in the Eno Future Leaders Development Conference this June.

“I am most looking forward to broadening my vision of transportation policy. The people that I meet in the five days of the Leadership Development Conference will shape my perspective for my lifetime… I expect to return to Oregon with a reformed sense of my role in transportation policy and politics,” Biddle said.

He is currently pursuing a joint degree between the Community & Regional Planning program and the Law School at UO. He has worked on NITC research projects under the guidance of UO professor Rebecca Lewis, co-organized the student-run Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, and s active in...

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Mar 09, 2015

The University of Oregon student group, LiveMove, shared lunch and an afternoon conversation on Monday, February 23rd, with Shelley Poticha, Director of the Urban Solutions program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The lunch was held on OU’s Eugene campus in Susan Campbell Hall, where Poticha engaged in an afternoon Q&A session with students from LiveMove.

The topic was transportation and livability related issues, with 13 participants in attendance.

In the evening following the Q&A, Poticha gave a presentation in Lawrence Hall. Her focus was on addressing best practices for implementing key concepts of new urbanism, as well as detailing dynamic approaches for achieving these goals.

Through aiding in the development of greener neighborhoods and implementation of better regional planning, Poticha is a national leader in assisting cities with creating sustainable communities. Prior to joining NRDC she was a senior advisor and director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before joining HUD, she served as President and CEO of Reconnecting America, as well as the Executive Director of the Congress for New Urbanism.

LiveMove partnered with the Sustainable Cities Initiative (...

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Jun 09, 2014

Historically, large-scale transportation infrastructure projects have had devastating outcomes in communities of color. With twentieth-century urban renewal efforts often came the displacement of underprivileged communities, the loss of low-income neighborhoods and their replacement with affluent housing and freeways.

According to new OTREC research from the University of Oregon, transit-oriented development, or TOD, can offer a different trajectory. Rather than displacing residents, TOD has the potential to improve neighborhoods for the benefit of those who live there.

OTREC researcher Gerardo Sandoval grew up near MacArthur park, one of the two sites studied, and has witnessed firsthand the neighborhood’s dramatic change. “I think the coolest thing about MacArthur Park is that now it’s considered a national model for TOD. When I was growing up there … nobody saw it like that. It was thought of more as a low-income area,” Sandoval said.

The project examined two California neighborhoods: MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, and Fruitvale, in Oakland. In both neighborhoods, the majority of residents are recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America, many of whom have significantly lower incomes and rely heavily on public transportation.

In the last few decades, both sites have seen TOD coincide with neighborhood revitalization, and...

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Mar 27, 2014

More attractive streetscapes often lead to an increase in private development, but it can be difficult to visualize future results when they are just potential.

An OTREC Small Starts research project has developed a workflow to create streetscape illustrations for Metro, the regional government for the Portland, Ore. metropolitan area.

Data-driven illustrations that depict planning scenarios are an effective way to communicate to decision makers the results that their investment could bring about. In line with the Oregon Legislature’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, Metro launched the Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project in 2011.

As part of this project, Metro has developed investment scenarios designed to reduce light vehicle carbon emissions. These scenarios represent potential improvements to urban centers, corridors and employment areas. Improvements such as providing services and shopping near where people live, expanding transit service, managing parking, and providing safer routes for walking and biking can increase transit ridership, support more active travel modes, and thereby reduce pollution.

Principal Investigator Nancy Cheng of the University of Oregon worked with Metro to create a streamlined process for illustrating the...

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Nov 12, 2013
Recently OTREC took a look at suburbia to see how many people were walking and biking to local destinations.
Traditionally, studies of suburban locations have found that due to the low density of suburban areas and their single-land-use patterns, active transportation is rare.
In a research project by Principal Investigator Nico Larco and Co-Investigator Robert Parker, of the University of Oregon, active transportation was found to be more common than expected in suburban areas with commercial strip destinations.
In their project “Overlooked Destinations: Suburban Nodes, Centers, and Trips to Strips,” Larco and Parker observed active travel behaviors around typical suburban commercial sites. They examined six strip malls -- four in Portland, Ore. and two in Atlanta, Ga. -- to map out the “pedshed,” or walkable zone surrounding these sites.
Investigators were surprised by what they found.
For each site, they created detailed pedestrian-network GIS maps. They compared the network extents of maps that included only publicly available, street centerline data with maps that included pedestrian...
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Jun 20, 2013

University of Oregon Master's student Joe McAndrew was recently awarded an Eno fellowship and invited to participate in the 2013 Eno Leadership Development Conference.

The fellowship is an extraordinary opportunity for students on a career track to become transportation policymakers. Only 20 fellows nationwide are chosen each year, and only one student from each university transportation program can be nominated by their school. McAndrew attended the 21st annual conference in Washington, D.C. from June 2 to 6, all expenses paid.

"It was fabulous," said the second-year planning student from UO. In the course of the four-day conference he was able to attend a variety of panels and events, but said that for him, "the true highlight was just the people that we were able to meet."

Conference attendees included "high-level officials, executive directors from all sectors and levels of government," McAndrew said, "from the freight industry, which included trucks, rail, and port; to the airline industry, to Capitol Hill staffers... we also met with the executive directors from Parsons-Brinckerhoff, AASHTO and the like. It was an all-encompassing opportunity."

The Eno Center for Transportation is a non-partisan "think-tank" that promotes policy innovation in the field of transportation planning.
...

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Apr 30, 2013

A new transportation class at the University of Oregon, launched in January 2013 and funded by grants from OTREC and NITC, by all accounts had a wonderful first term.

Conceived as part of the curriculum for the Oregon Leadership in Sustainability (OLIS) program at U of O, the course, titled Sustainable Transportation, will be a permanent part of the OLIS class roster and will be open to all graduate students at the university.

The class this winter, led by instructors Ann Scheerer and Larisa Varela, taught applied research in a real-world setting. Students worked on planning projects for the university and for its home community, the City of Eugene, Ore.

On March 20, 2013, U of O's Transportation and Livability Student Group, LiveMove, hosted a public event where students were invited to present their research and interested community members were invited to attend.

The day of the presentations in Eugene was exciting; the “icing on the cake” for Scheerer. Marc Schlossberg, OTREC/NITC executive committee member at U of O and faculty advisor for LiveMove, was there, and so were some professors from the planning department, staff from the sustainability office, and quite a few local transportation advocates.

Scheerer, a PhD candidate...

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Apr 24, 2013

The American Planning Assocation held its annual conference in Chicago this April.

Two OTREC universities sent students to attend, and OTREC staff member Jon Makler attended the Intelligent Cities "Unconference," which was held on Wednesday, April 17.

In addition to Portland State University graduate student research group Celillo Planning Studio, which won the APA student award for Application of the Planning Process, there were other PSU students who attended just to soak up the conference. Two students from the University of Oregon also attended and created a research poster for the conference.

This year's APA gave some focus to transportation. In addition to Monday, April 15 being themed "Transportation Day: Transforming Cities Through Transportation," there were also a handful of other transportation events including workshops titled "Sustainability Implications for Urban Transportation" and "Transportation Planning in a Changing Climate."

Makler, OTREC’s Education and Technology Transfer Program Manager, said that one of this year's highlights for him was the Unconference: a facilitated, participant-driven meeting which encouraged attendees to explore the ideas they were most interested in talking about. OTREC was one of about 25 organizations to take part in the Unconference.

After...

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