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Stanford University – Sustainable Cities at Stanford

By on August 30, 2016
Stanford University

Contact name and title
Deland Chan, Lecturer in Urban Studies


Title of activity
Sustainable Cities at Stanford

Description of activity
Sustainable Cities is a service-learning course offered through the Program on Urban Studies and Earth Systems Program. Students learn and work collaboratively with Bay Area government agencies and community organizations to support their sustainability goals. Now in its 8th year, the class attracts undergraduate and graduate students from a multitude of disciplines, ranging from urban studies to civil and environmental engineering to law and public policy majors, to support clients on meaningful fieldwork-based projects.
Sustainable Development Goal 11 targets relating to activity
11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
11.3 By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
11.b By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels

Main themes of this activity
Planning and Design
Capacity Development
Climate Change
Changes that took place as a result of this activity
Students collaborate with local government agencies and community organizations to support their sustainability goals. As a result of students providing research and fieldwork capacity, this work was able to inform legislation and policy changes such as the passing of a downtown zoning plan, the creation of numerous education campaign, a transportation demand management program, and more.

Examples of past projects include: assessing feasibility of an equitable and integrated Bay Area public transportation fare structure; mapping residential displacement and demographic shifts in San Mateo County; developing a public engagement strategy for household hazardous waste disposal in the City of San Jose; creating a toolkit for Women Bike SF to increase bike ridership in San Francisco; providing technical and policy analysis for the City of Oakland soft story retrofit program; assessing equitable access to transit in San Mateo County; conducting a community-serving retail analysis of the Tenderloin and Central Market Area in San Francisco; developing economic drivers and development strategies for the City of Los Altos; and addressing local business displacement in the City of San Mateo.

How the impact of the activity was measured
Students report high satisfaction and learning outcomes as a result of their engagement. Community partners, such as government agencies and NGOs, are able to pass policy as a result of supporting research and fieldwork.
Links related to the activity
  • http://urbanst164.stanford.edu
Additional notes