UW, City of Auburn partner on yearlong livability program

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UW, City of Auburn partner on yearlong livability program

Students, faculty in several areas will work on projects to boost municipality’s well-being

The University of Washington has begun a yearlong partnership with the City of Auburn under the new Livable City Year program. Students and professors in the School of Public Health and other UW programs will work with the City of Auburn to advance the city's goals for livability and sustainability in the upcoming academic year. 

The program connects local governments with UW classes to address community-identified areas of need. In this inaugural year, faculty will lead classes to work on 15 to 20 projects from an initial list of almost 50 identified by Auburn. They involve public works, innovation and technology, urban planning and more. 

Jennifer Otten, a UW assistant professor of nutritional sciences, will co-lead the project.
picture of Jennifer Otten

The cross-university collaboration is led by Jennifer Otten, an assistant professor in Public Health, and Branden Born, an associate professor in the Department of Urban Design and Planning. UW Sustainability, Urban@UW and Undergraduate Academic Affairs are other collaborators. 

“This program provides students with an opportunity to tackle meaningful and challenging real-world problems,” Otten said. "Projects addressed in these UW class and city collaborations directly affect the health and well-being of the city’s population. Students will gain an introduction to the civic process and get an opportunity to become better engaged with local communities.”

Livable City Year is based on the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year program. 

“While many UW faculty engage in community work, it can be isolated, lacking broad impact. By connecting many courses over one academic year to projects that address the partner city’s specific goals, Livable City Year can have broad impacts that are difficult for faculty to achieve on their own,” Born said. “Livable City Year gives faculty across many disciplines a chance to work together in a fully collaborative UW effort."

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