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Livable City Year

2017-2018 Projects

Livable City Year is partnering with the City of Tacoma for the 2017-2018 academic year, connecting UW students and faculty with projects identified by Auburn that address the city’s sustainability and livability goals.


City_of_Tacoma_Logo_ColorUW students are working on the following projects in the City of Tacoma during the 2017-2018 Livable City Year (this list will be updated as more projects are confirmed).

Fall 2017

Transit Station Area Placemaking

Faculty: Anaid Yerena and Ali Modarres, UW Tacoma Urban Studies
This project would complement the Pierce Transit High Capacity Transit feasibility and design study by working with local businesses and residents within a walk distance of two key intersections along the Pacific Avenue corridor at S 38th and S 56th, to explore place-making strategies that could be implemented in conjunction with transit station construction and future land use development. Place-making elements could include façade improvements, tree canopy, signage and wayfinding, public spaces, streetscape design, as well as route-directness and connectivity improvements that help facilitate the growth of transit-oriented communities and 20-minute neighborhoods.

Business Recruitment: A Millennial Perspective

Faculty: Joaquin Herranz, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance 
Students will conduct focus groups to report on what amenities/retail destinations are missing in Tacoma. Report should include qualitative and quantitative data that is used to recommend amenities/retail options that would be beneficial to a college student body, surrounding educational institutions and working young adults who live in Tacoma. This project should focus on suggesting opportunities in proximity to our local educational institutions: UWT, Bates, UPS, TCC and PLU.

Planning Video Library

Faculty: Branden Born and Rachel Berney, Community, Environment & Planning
This project will create a sample Planning and Development Video library, with each video focused on a specific topic of interest to the community. Topics include a profile of the Planning and Development Services Department, a tutorial of the One Tacoma Plan, the vision for the City’s designated Mixed-use Centers, and/or a profile of the City’s Downtown Subarea Plans. This project will create a template for future expansion of the video library to help improve citizen and developer access to, and understanding of, the City’s plans and programs.

Planning and Development Services Communications Plan Implementation – Social Media

Faculty: Branden Born and Rachel Berney, Community, Environment & Planning
PDS has been seeking to increase the diverse methods of communication the department uses to reach citizens and to involve them in the decision-making process. The intent is to create a social media presence that reflects the mission of PDS and to train staff on how to most effectively utilize social media to have the greatest impact.

Tacoma 2025 Baseline Data Collection

Faculty: Branden Born and Rachel Berney, Community, Environment & Planning
Tacoma 2025, the City’s strategic plan, is the visioning document to inform elected and staff decision-making. Out of the strategic planning process, a set of indicators were developed around our seven core values. In order to create specific goals, an implementation strategy, and viable targets, the City needs to collect, analyze, and report baseline data. This project would require identifying strong collection methodologies, time frames for collection, and an organizing structure for how the data will be reported. If the project is selected and extends over one academic quarter, actual data collection could be within scope.

Revitalization Area Planning Toolkit

Faculty: Linda Ishem, UW Tacoma Urban Studies
This project will assess the lessons learned from recent subarea planning and neighborhood revitalization strategies. The intent is to create a more operationalized approach to neighborhood revitalization, including scoping, assessment of needs, assessment of assets and capacities, and community based strategies for future replication.

Neighborhood Health Indicators or Livability Index

Faculty: India Ornelas, School of Public Health
Much of Tacoma’s appeal comes from the uniqueness and spirit of our neighborhoods. As the lifeblood of the city, it is vital that we continue to provide support and seek out opportunities and projects that make the places people live better. A pathway to make good decisions is an analytic tool, which will be used across departments, that displays, interprets, and correlates a set of indicators (schools, grocery stores, parks, retail, rates of foreclosure, age, race, ethnicity) that portend neighborhood health.