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Monday, October 21 • 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Fanning the Flame: How CommUniverCity SJSU’s Urban Planning Projects Spark Longstanding Resident and Student Engagement

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CommUniverCity SJSU is a nationally recognized public-private partnership led by San Jose State University (SJSU) that spearheads 40 community-engaged learning projects a year in San Jose’s underserved communities. A central goal of CommUniverCity is promoting social capital and improving neighborhood infrastructure.

For the past decade, students in the graduate Community Planning course “adopt” a local neighborhood an undertake a comprehensive analysis of community assets and aspirations with resident leaders, small businesses, and community organizations. Students learn to interview residents using an extensive door-to-door survey, research the area’s history, and identify its unique characteristics. Together they organize a community open house. Neighbors are invited to evaluate and comment on their work. Students prepare a professional-quality report that they turn over to neighborhood association leadership. This document serves as a definitive resource for neighborhood planning.

Previous projects have led to resident- and student-led urban village concepts being adopted as the preferred development model for the City of San Jose’s General Plan. Additionally, relationships created as a result of the class projects have led to spin-off endeavor including pop-up parks, seasonal festivals, and murals. A number of class graduates go on to work as staff in the City of San Jose and continue their relationship with CommUniverCity in their professional capacity. Student assessments overwhelmingly indicate that the experience enhanced their understanding of community issues, assets, and priorities and improved their research and analysis skills to solve real world urban issues. The proposed presentation will provide details on class structure and community partnerships.


Katherine Cushing

Executive Director, San Jose State University CommUniverCity

Richard Kos

Professor, San Jose State University

Monday October 21, 2019 2:30pm - 3:00pm EDT