Climate Action Collaborative Projects

Current Projects 

Urban Heat Island/Air Quality 

Due to climate change, increased summer temperatures are projected to result in downgraded air quality and extreme heat events. An interdisciplinary team of PSU faculty has created an online tool for the city to use in assessing human vulnerability to these issues. The team is now working with Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to develop urban heat mitigation strategies and incorporate the results of their work into city plans, urban design, and forestry decisions. Visit the Climate Cope website and PDX Resiliency app. PSU Lead Investigator: Vivek Shandas,

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Flooding on the Willamette

River levels, floodplain development patterns, and sea level-rise are likely to impact Portland as the effects of climate change begin to manifest. Hydrology experts at PSU are conducting research on how these climate impacts might play out and provide information that will inform future zoning decisions and infrastructure investments in Portland. PSU Lead Investigator: Heejun Chang,

      Deconstruction vs. Demolition 

      The PSU Northwest Economic Research Center conducted an economic analysis of comparing the costs and benefits of building deconstruction versus building demolition in Portland. The goal of this project was to characterize, quantify, and analyze these costs, benefits, and impacts in a comprehensive and unbiased manner. Their work informed a 2016 city policy decision to require deconstruction for homes built in 1916 or earlier. The team is now analyzing the impacts of this policy on the related workforce. PSU Lead Investigator: Mike Parusckiewicz, 

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      Sustainable Food Procurement Policy

      PSU’s Sustainable Development Practices class will tackle the issue of sustainable food purchasing in Portland by conducting research and makeing recommendations for a new climate-friendly purchasing city policy. The desired outcome is a policy document and implementation materials that can be used by employees of bureaus who volunteer to participate in the pilot. PSU Lead Investigator/Professor: Janet Hamer,


      Energy Data for Commercial Buildings

      In summer 2016 a data energy intern helped organize, analyze, and present data from the first annual energy performance report for Portland’s largest commercial buildings. Mandatory commercial building energy performance benchmarking and annual reporting is the first action in the City of Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan and serves a 2030 objective to reduce the total energy use of all buildings built before 2010 by 25 percent. This year the collaborative will continue to support the energy data projects as more buildings begin reporting and more data becomes available. PSU Lead Investigator: Vivek Shandas, (faculty advisor to intern)

      Economic Analysis of the Green Loop 

      The city is exploring the construction of a Green Loop—approximately 10 miles of linear open space through the heart of downtown Portland to encourage bike and pedestrian travel. The Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC) analyzed the costs and benefits of increasing bike infrastructure in the city. Read the Portland Green Loop Report here. PSU Lead Investigator: Jenny Liu


      Equity and Accessibility of Green Space

      Aimed at enhancing social equity outcomes within the Green Loop planning process, sociology and urban planning researchers worked City of Portland urban design staff to investigate the accessibility of green space to diverse residents from all parts of Portland. The findings from their research will be incorporated into programming and designing the Green Loop as well as decisions about other city green space investments. PSU Lead Investigator: Amy Lubitow

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      Previous Projects

      Valuing Green Infrastructure 

      Portland has made significant investments in green infrastructure such as bioswales and green roofs planted for stormwater management. But how do those efforts compare to traditional “grey” city infrastructure investments? An interdisciplinary team of ecosystem services experts researched how other cities are valuing urban ecological features to inform how bureaus across the city are making the case for green infrastructure. The results of their work will be incorporated into the city’s forthcoming Green Assets report. PSU Lead Investigator: Marissa Matsler,

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      The Local Food Economy

      The Climate Action Plan promotes local food as a way to reduce carbon emissions and strengthen the local economy. A report on Portland's Food Economy by the Northwest Economic Research Center systematically analyzed the value of the local food economy to provide a strong factual basis for policymaking related to the sector. PSU Lead Investigator: Greg Schrock:


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      Participatory Mapping

      PSU researchers teamed up with grassroots neighborhood organizations to explore the use of community-based participatory mapping as a tool for supporting climate action in underserved communities. Their work led to the development of maps and wayfinding signage in the Cully neighborhood that will help pedestrians access local parks and assets. In the Lents neighborhood the mapping was used to identify local environmental and community assets, and the community was given high quality maps that helped spur organizing and grassroots community planning. PSU Lead Investigator: Rebecca McLain

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            For more information about the Portland Climate Action Collaborative, contact Beth Gilden, research program coordinator for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, at