Student Research and Graduate Workshops

Students in all of our programs are engaged in efforts to improve diversity and equity in our communities, cities, region, and beyond. This page showcases examples of students work from all of our programs. We also highlight some examples of student work outside the classroom- for example as activists, volunteers, interns, alumni and other.

Community Development

Field Experience Examples

CD students have brought a focus on diversity and equity to their field experiences, hosted by organizations such as:

Out-of-classroom work examples


Workshop Examples

A core requirement of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program is completion of a community-based, client-focused workshop project. Several past workshop projects have focused on strengthening opportunities for underserved neighborhoods and populations in the Portland metropolitan area. See below for some examples.

Umatilla Together (2017) | Client: City of Umatilla

Final Documents: Framework Plan | Umatilla Together | Umatilla Together (Español)

Umatilla Together sets the stage for great opportunities and seeks to inspire the residents of Umatilla to imagine what your city could be: a truly desirable place to live, work, learn, and play. Great places are not created by accident. They are the result of a vision, leadership, planning, public investment, unrelenting tenacity on the part of city champions, and strategic, meaningful partnerships. Confluentis planning: Amber Ayers, Belen Herrera, Carlos Callava, Nate Miller, Samuel Roberts, Laura Voss


St. Johns Housing Action Plan (2017) | Client: St Johns Center for Opportunity

Final Document: Housing Action Plan

The St. Johns Housing Action Plan (Action Plan) is designed to serve vulnerable St. Johns residents who are first to feel the impacts of increased housing costs and market pressures. It also intends to capture the support of residents who are not at risk of displacement but realize that the neighborhood change they fear is partly fueled by housing instability. Falta Planning: Jai Singh, Julia Michel, Andres Oswill, Gabriel Rousseau, Ludwig Salzmann, Eric Rutledge


Washington County Affordable Housing Development Strategy (2016) | Client: Washington County Housing Authority and Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation

Final Document: Open Doors Final Report

The Washington County Consolidated Housing Plan estimates a need for 14,000 housing units affordable to low and very low-income households. This project was developed to create an initial strategy for meeting that need. It provides 30 specific recommendations for Washington County to enable it to take action in the coming years. As the plan notes, there is no single action that will suffice. The County can make progress towards meeting the challenge posed by its affordable housing crisis by leveraging the proposed recommendations with each other. Open Doors Housing Solutions: Mary Heberling, Hayley Mallen, Danelle Peterson, Jill Statz, David Tetrick


PAALF People's Plan: East Portland Pilot/Background 2015) | Client: Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF)
Final Documents: Community Engagement | Executive Summary | Overview Conditions
In collaboration with the Portland African American Leadership Forum, a group of six PSU MURP students joined efforts to support the organization's work on the People's Plan. PAALF People's Plan will frame the policy agenda, project the vision for a thriving Black community, and advance community-initiated projects that benefit Africans and African Americans living in Portland, Oregon. By viewing the community as the drivers of change, the PAALF People's Plan will serve as a powerful tool for organizing, advocacy, and implementation, empowering the Portland Black community to assert their right to actively shape the city they live in. The Student team worked with PAALF and community members to develop the East Portland Pilot Plan in order to gather preliminary data and determine a strategic roadmap to support ongoing community engagement and planning efforts of the PAALF People's Plan. The pilot plan focuses on the needs and priorities of Black residents who have settled in East Portland as a result of displacement from inner city neighborhoods and the search for affordable housing. Recognizing the traumatic experience of being uprooted from community and place, this pilot plan reflects the hopes of those who seek to rebuild their lives. The East Portland Pilot Plan explores the issues of some of the city's most underserved and overlooked populations and proposes a starting point for community healing and opportunities for equitable development as Portland continues to grow. Group Members: Todd Borkowitz, Lorrie Chang, Christine Corrales, Leslee Humphrey, D.H. Strongheart, Timothy Wood


Fourth Plain Forward: Action Plan for Vancouver's Multicultural Business District Appendices (2015) | Client: City of Vancouver (WA)

Final Document: Fourth Plain Forward: Action Plan for Vancouver's Multicultural Business District

Fourth Plain Forward is an action plan for Fourth Plain's multicultural business district, created in collaboration with the City of Vancouver, Washington. Fourth Plain's business district reflects the rich diversity of its surrounding communities, but the area faces significant economic challenges. To address these issues, the action plan builds on the economic development goals outlined in the 2007 Fourth Plain Corridor Subarea Plan, and aims to improve conditions along the corridor for both businesses and residents. Broadly, Fourth Plain Forward outlines strategies and actions to grow economic security and opportunity, and maintain the area's diversity. Fourth Plain Student Team: Mandia Gonzales, Jamin Kimmell, Eddie Montejo, Lauren Patton, Kate Rogers, Anthony Thompson

Gresham Opportunity Framework Plan-Part 1/Part-2 (2014) | Client: City of Gresham

Final Document: Gresham Opportunity Framework Plan

The Map Gresham project was a five-month long planning process led by Camassia Community Planning (CCP) to create “opportunity maps” and an Opportunity Framework Plan for the City of Gresham, OR. Opportunity mapping is a relatively new planning method for analyzing the spatial distribution of indicators linked to opportunity and determining which populations have access to these factors. The overarching objective of the Framework Plan is to improve equitable access to opportunities for Gresham’s neighborhoods and diverse populations. We created the plan by putting community at the center and collaborating with local organizations, technical advisors, and City staff. It includes nine goals and 25 actions related to: public involvement, housing, transportation, food access, employment, education, health & human services, parks, and safety. Camassia Community Planning:  

Portland Mercado (2011) | Client: Hacienda CDC
Final Document: Final Report

Realizing public goals of an inclusive and vibrant society requires an advocacy approach to urban planning and economic development. Adelante Planning outlines strategies based on research and case studies to successfully implement a Mercado as an economic development and business incubation strategy for Portland’s Latino community. A Mercado is a strategic planning approach targeted toward Latino populations and other minorities, particularly in gentrifying areas within the Portland metropolitan region. Adelante Planning: Abigail Cermak, David Ruelas, Bridger Wineman, Ellen Wyoming

Harvesting Opportunity: A Strategic Vision for Farmworker Housing and Microenterprise in Washington County (2010) | Client: Farmworker Housing Development Corporation (Woodburn, OR)
Final Document: Final Report
Farmworkers across Washington County face stagnant and often declining incomes, limited employment opportunities, and a shortage of affordable, quality housing. In this six-month workshop project, Tierra Planning explored the connection between quality affordable housing and economic development opportunities for farmworkers in Washington County.  TSUSP graduate students worked with stakeholders, regulators, landowners and farm workers to identify barriers, opportunities, and alternatives. Following extensive research, outreach, and alternatives analysis, the final product included a strategic vision and also offered both general recommendations and recommendations to Washington County officials.  A primary objective of the project is to encourage discourse among local farmers, housing developers, and policy makers in order to provide alternative models for integrated farmworker housing and economic development. Additionally, this project also highlights the important connection between the growing local food movement and workers who harvest local food to broaden support for the social aspects of sustainability. Tierra Planning: Nadine Appenbrink, Raihana Ansary, Elizabeth Decker, Kate McQuillan, Karla Nelson, Emily Pich


MUS and PhD students often center diversity and equity questions in their research. See some examples below.

MUS Thesis examples

Becker, E. J. (2015). Beyond Fruit: Examining Community in a Community Orchard

PhD dissertation examples

Mahmoudi, D. (2017). Making Software, Making Regions: Labor Market Dualization, Segmentation, and Feminization in Austin, Portland and Seattle.

Saldaña, P. R. (2015). The Scales and Shapes of Queer Women's Geographies: Mapping Private, Public and Cyber Spaces in Portland, OR

Peer-reviewed journal articles with students as lead authors

Goodling, E., Green, J., & McClintock, N. (2015). Uneven development of the sustainable city: Shifting capital in Portland, Oregon. Urban Geography, 36(4), 504-527.

Book reviews

Coplen, A. K. (2013). Julie Guthman: Weighing in: obesity, food justice, and the limits of capitalism. Agriculture and Human Values, 30(3), 485.