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Transformational learning through the Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative

What inspires you to engage in partnerships through community-based learning and applied research? In 140-character Tweets, faculty at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions’ Professional Development Workshop on June 20 kicked off a fantastic event by getting a little bit social (media) with their introductions.

Seven student groups, two community partners, one grand experiment

What once was limited to a Senior Capstone experience is becoming more pervasive throughout the course catalog, where disciplines as varied as business and graphic design are now working with community partners to tackle actual issues.

Alley Allies: Connecting our neighborhoods by building better alleys

It’s 8 a.m. on a spring morning in Southeast Portland in the year 2020. Roberto is ten years old. His mom hands him his lunch as he scampers out the back door and down the alley towards Arleta School from his home on Boise and 66th.

Capstone class combats waste with Lloyd EcoSwap

Portland State University Capstone students, teamed up with the Lloyd EcoDistrict, Community Environmental Services, and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions to host an EcoSwap event this August at National Night Out—an annual neighborhood event in the Lloyd district.

Urban Sustainability Accelerator hosts first class of cities

Their visit to Portland coincided with a spectacular spate of summer weather, the Oregon Brewers Festival and the achievement of an electric counter tallying one million bike commuters crossing the Hawthorne Bridge. In other words, Portland put a good foot forward when representatives from seven U.S. cities arrived in town for the PSU Urban Sustainability Accelerator’s inaugural convening. 

VIDEO | Students explore sustainable neighborhoods

In spring 2013, four University Studies Freshman Inquiry classes partnered with EcoDistricts around Portland to give students the opportunity to get on-the-ground experience with neighborhood-scale sustainability efforts. This is the story of one of those classes.

Workshop inspires new sustainable neighborhood partnerships

“Building communities for our children’s future.”

“Not everyone can afford organic food.”

“The coal industry endowed my education.”

“No city can survive without water.” 

FRINQs in the EcoDistricts: South Waterfront

Fifteen years ago, Portland’s South Waterfront district was little more than a semi-vacant industrial brownfield. Today, as a designated urban renewal area and one of Portland’s pilot EcoDistricts, it has become what developers claim is the largest green development in the country. PSU students in Leslie Batchelder’s Freshman Inquiry course spent their spring term delving into the transformation of this Portland neighborhood.

FRINQs in the EcoDistricts: Lloyd

Jordyn Paul grew up in Portland but until the spring term of her freshman year at Portland State, she had no idea what an EcoDistrict was.

FRINQs in the EcoDistricts: Foster Green

In a small, shady building tucked away from the street, 26 Portland State freshmen gather in a circle around the volunteer coordinator for the Green Lents Community Tool Library. The students are in Annie Knepler’s Freshman Inquiry class, which has been focusing on different aspects of Portland for the entire year. This spring, the students have been working in groups with community partners in the Foster Green EcoDistrict on topics like neighborhood education, housing, economic development, and food systems.