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Robert Liberty, Director of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator, has been working for more than thirty years to promote livable and sustainable cities and regions. Professors Connie Ozawa and Ethan Seltzer bring decades of research and public service experience to the efforts of the USA.

Robert Liberty - USA Director - has worked in many roles and at all levels of government to promote livable and sustainable cities and regions.

Mr. Liberty was Staff Attorney and then Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the implementation, defense and improvement of Oregon's comprehensive land use planning program.

Mr. Liberty has worked as a land use hearings officer, a planning consultant and a speaker on planning topics in the U.S. and other countries.  He served as Senior Counsel to Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, assisting him with federal policy issues concerning livable communities.

In 2004 he was elected to the Metro Council, the metropolitan government in the Portland, Oregon region and was re-elected in 2008. On the Metro Council he chaired and co-chaired committees considering rail transit investments, regional housing policy and other matters.

In his career in higher education, Mr. Liberty has helped establish relationships with sustainable city planning and design efforts in China and participated in a U.S. HUD sustainable communities regional planning grant, helping to develop triple-bottom line evaluation frameworks for transportation investments.

He became director of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator (USA) in October 2012, and in 2016 he was appointed director of PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions, where USA is now housed.

Mr. Liberty received his BA in Political Science from the University of Oregon Honors College, a Masters in Modern History from Oxford University and his JD Degree from Harvard Law School. During the 2002-03 academic year, he was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

To contact Robert: email or call: (503) 725-8989.

Connie Ozawa - USA Faculty Adviser - is the Director of the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning.

Dr. Ozawa's interests include how to integrate different sources of information into planning decisions in ways that build strong working relationships. Integrating theory and practice, she has led negotiation training workshops with practitioners, the Portland Development Commission and the Housing Authority of Portland.

Dr. Ozawa is co-director of the China Program, coordinating opportunities for scholars and students to share place-based knowledge across language and geographic boundaries.  Through this program, about one hundred Chinese planners and policy makers visit Portland each year, to learn about planning and sustainability efforts here.

In the classroom Professor Ozawa teaches environmental policy and management and planning theory and practice.

Dr. Ozawa edited The Portland Edge: Challenge and Successes in Growing Communities (2004) and authored Recasting Science: Consensus-Based Procedures in Public Policy Making (1991).

Dr. Ozawa earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley; an MA in Geography at the University of Hawai'i and her Ph.D. in Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Ethan Seltzer - USA Faculty Adviser - is a member of the faculty and former director of the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. His career in planning spans government and academia.

Dr. Seltzer is recognized as an authority on regional planning and development and the Cascadia eco-region.  He co-edited Regional Planning in America: Practice and Prospect, published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (2011) and Toward One Oregon: Rural-Urban Intedependence and the Evolution of a State, published by Oregon State University Press (2011.)

Dr. Seltzer served as President of the City of Portland Planning Commission and as a Land Use Supervisor for the Metro regional government during the adoption of the Regional Urban Growth Goals and Objectives.  At the City of Portland, he assisted City Commissioner Mike Lindberg with park system planning, land use planning and budget matters. He serves on the Portland 2035 Central City Plan advisory committee.

His academic interests include citizen participation, such as the application of crowd-sourcing technologies, and how regions develop distinct identities and values that shape local and regional planning.

Dr. Seltzer received a B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College, an M.A. in Regional Planning and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.


Judy Walton - USA Program Administrator - joined the Urban Sustainability Accelerator in Winter 2014.

Dr. Walton has experience in green building consulting, neighborhood planning, and open space planning, and has taught courses in sustainable cities and urban geography at Humboldt State University and Portland State University. While at Humboldt State she helped develop an interdisciplinary M.A. program in “Environment & Community.”  Her academic area of emphasis is urban geography, including downtown revitalization and sustainable cities.

Dr. Walton was the founding director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and an initiator of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) as well as the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), the premier sustainability assessment system used by colleges and universities.  These experiences have connected her with sustainability professionals around the country. 

Dr. Walton received her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Economics from the University of California at San Diego; an M.A. in Geography from San Diego State University; and a Ph.D. in Geography from Syracuse University. 

To contact Judy: email or call: (503) 725-5839.