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Urban Sustainability

Don't miss the Sustainability Friday Film Series

On select Fridays from February through April, PSU students have access to front row seats to film screenings and dinner at PSU hosted by the Sustainability Leaders Network and Student Sustainability Center. The films highlight social justice movements and stories of people, food and nature.

Sustainable Food Systems cohort examines the future of food systems under the Trump administration

The students and faculty of PSU’s new Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Food Systems gathered in January for their first cohort event. The certificate brings together students and faculty from diverse academic areas as a collaborative effort by the College of Urban and Public Affairs, the Graduate School of Education, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Business Administration, and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions. The event was an opportunity to meet each other over coffee and engage in a discussion about the future of food systems issues under the new federal administration.

PSU’s first honey harvest wins third place in local taste test

In April of 2016, PSU’s Beekeeping Task Force introduced two hives to campus in the Community Orchard. The flowers bloomed, luring the bees out to explore their new home. The bees visited the apple trees, pear trees, tomato plants, blueberry bushes, buckwheat flowers and anything else that intrigued them. As the student-led task force monitored them throughout the summer and into fall they noticed they had collected quite a bit of honey which meant one thing—Beekeeping Task Force collected their first honey harvest.

PSU architecture students propose tactical urbanism interventions for the Halprin Open Space Sequence

As a masters student in PSU’s Urban and Regional Planning program and a Student Fellow of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, I am particularly interested in sustainable design ideas for urban spaces.

Tactical urbanism, anti-poverty research, community outreach, and more: Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative winter 2017 roster

The Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative (SNI) continues its work in 2017, including two high-impact Featured Projects initiated last fall. The first project is in east Portland’s Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods, where PSU students in several courses are working with public agencies and community-based organizations to better understand floodplain related burdens faced by residents living in Johnson Creek’s 100-year floodplain.

Climate collaborative maps Portland heat islands: Informing infrastructure approaches to extreme heat

Portland, Oregon, probably isn’t the first place you think of when the term “heat island” comes up. Rain? Yes. Heat? No. What about Phoenix, Los Angeles, cities in the Middle East—those really hot places? The trouble with these conventional perceptions of temperature is that places that have historically dealt with heat have been working on adaptation measures for decades, and in some cases millennia.

As China takes a stance on climate change, mega-cities like Shenzhen lead the way


The mega-city of Shenzhen is located approximately 20 miles north of Hong Kong in the Chinese province of Guandong. 

All photos by Eric Rutledge.

Class hits the road in study of Northwest Superfund sites

This spring Melanie Malone, Diana Denham and Mary Ann Rozance, PhD students from PSU's IGERT program—a National Science Foundation-funded interdisciplinary program focused on studying ecosystem services for urbanizing regions—offered a unique interdisciplinary course on urban rivers.

Community Spotlight: Q&A with Olyssa Starry

Olyssa Starry is an assistant professor of urban ecology at the Portland State University Honors College working on several research projects with students right now that all use greenroofs as model systems for understanding urban ecology.

Grant writing for a more livable Lents: A senior capstone experience

This past winter term, I finished my senior capstone in Celine Fitzmaurice’s Grant Writing for Environmental Advocacy. Over the course of the term, students in the class delved into the intricacies of the grant writing process, from finding a suitable funder, to working with the grant-seeking organization to refine its concept of the community need it seeks to meet, to assembling a thorough and complete grant proposal.

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