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Emerald Corridor Collaboratory

The Emerald Corridor Collaboratory is a regional network between four city-university partnerships in the Pacific Northwest, aimed at developing collaborative solutions for sustainable and resilient cities.

Read our Final Report: Experiences Implementing City-University Partnerships

Read a synthesis of projects funded under the Bullitt Foundation’s Thought Leadership and Innovation effort: Lessons and Levers for University Collaborations with Governmental and Community Partners

The Emerald Corridor Collaboratory, which formally collaborated for 2018-2019, is made up of the following city-university partnerships:

  • Portland, Oregon & Portland State University
  • Vancouver, British Columbia & University of British Columbia
  • Seattle, Washington & University of Washington
  • Bellingham, Washington & Western Washington University

Meaningful city-university partnerships can be effective in combating urban challenges such as sustainability, transportation, homelessness, or planning. Leveraging the strengths of institution and local government, city-university partnerships can save resources and maximize efficiency.

While developing this network, the Emerald Corridor Collaboratory will study the mechanisms involved in creating and maintaining a successful network of backbone organizations (e.g. city-university partnerships). Tools, such as formative evaluation, will be used to inform our process and promote success.

Each city-university partnership is working on projects within their locale. Success of this initiative will be measured based on the strength of the Emerald Corridor Collaboratory network and the outcomes of each project. Results from this study will provide a regional network model that can be expanded to further urban resiliency.

Explore below to learn more about each of the four partnering universities and their collaborators, relevant events and projects, and related resources.

Partners and Collaborators

Each partnering university has multiple persons involved in the Emerald Corridor Collaboratory. A list of these specific university partners, as well as links to their group’s web page, is provided in the sections below.

University Partners

Fletcher Beaudoin
Fletcher Beaudoin
Assistant Director,  Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Portland State University, Portland OR




Jennifer Davison
Jennifer Davison
Program Director, Urban@UW
University of Washington, Seattle WA




Nabil Kamel
Nabil Kamel
Associate Professor, Environmental Studies
Western Washington University, Bellingham WA




Molly Kramer
Molly Baer Kramer
Project Manager, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Portland State University, Portland OR




Lindsey MacDonald
Coordinator, Sustainable Communities Partnership
Office of Sustainability
Western Washington University, Bellingham WA



Angelique Pilon
Angelique Pilon
Director, Urban Innovation Research
University Sustainability Initiative
University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC



Thaisa Way
Thaisa Way
Professor, Landscape Architecture
Founding Director, Urban@UW
University of Washington, Seattle WA





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Pilot Projects

Below is a list of the Emerald Corridor Collaboratory’s pilot projects and their leads. Projects vary across the region in scope and progress; these will be updated through this initiative’s lifetime.


Portland State University & Portland

Project: Cross-Evaluation of Three Concurrent Projects

University LeadsFletcher Beaudoin, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, PSU; and Molly Baer Kramer, Institute for Sustainable Solutions, PSU

City PartnersMichele Crim, City of PortlandDawn Uchiyama, City of Portland; and Alice Brawley-ChesworthCity of Portland

Description: Portland State University will conduct a meta-analysis of three ongoing, existing projects: developing a city-wide green infrastructure vision and strategy, updating the city’s Climate Action Plan, and creating systems to strengthen the city’s ability to prepare for and recover from natural disasters. We will evaluate all three projects simultaneously at different points over the next several months with an eye toward finding syntheses between the disparate projects that can help to aid or augment their success.

Progress, June 2019: Together, the City of Portland and Portland State University has established a five-year vision and one-year work plan for their next generation of CUP. Thought leaders within the CUP laid the foundation, but the effort was a culmination of academic staff, students, and municipal government and staff participation.


University of British Columbia & Vancouver

Project: University-City Partnership Assessment

University LeadsAngelique Pilon, Sustainability Initiative, UBC; and Victoria Smith, Sustainability Initiative, UBC

City PartnersDoug Smith, City of Vancouver; and Brad Badelt, City of Vancouver

Description: The University of British Columbia is assessing the breadth and depth of partnerships between faculty and the City of Vancouver. Documenting these connections will provide foundational information to identify a key topic areas for longer, more sustained research collaborations. The Emerald Corridor Collaboratory provides and opportunity to assess these partnerships and develop a network mapping of collaborations.

Progress, June 2019: Faculty and municipal staff have engaged in survey and interview efforts to provide insight into existing and past projects between city and university. Results from surveys and interviews are currently being analyzed. However, the process has provided lessons regarding factors of success or challenges in implementing collaborations.


University of Washington & Seattle

Project: LEAP FROG to a Shared Right of Way

Project Leads: Thaisa Way, Urban@UW; A-P Hurd, SkipStone; and Barbara Swift, Swift Company

Project Partners: Rachel Berney,  Michelle Caulfield, Benjamin de la Pena, David Driskell, Mami Hara, Jonathan Hopkins, Julie Johnson

Description: The University of Washington is partnering with the private, public and non-profit sectors to re-imagine the right of way in Seattle. New tools and approaches will be utilized by the partnership to develop a project that “leapfrogs” traditional uses of the right of way. The team will also assess the successes and challenges of working in a partnership across sectors, and how this model can be leveraged for other projects.

Progress, June 2019: Project partners from UW, the City and the private sector selected two pilot projects from a list of candidate neighborhoods. Projects were selected based on community need and capacity. Community leaders worked directly with private sector leaders and UW faculty and students to plan, fundraise, and execute projects unique to each community’s goals. Project work is coming to an end and lessons learned will be synthesized for individual projects and the collective effort.


Western Washington University & Bellingham

Project: Disaster Preparedness Planning

University Leads: Lindsey MacDonald, Western Sustainability, WWU; and Rebekah Paci-Green, Department of Environmental Studies, WWU

City PartnersBrian Heinrich, City of BellinghamRick Sepler, City of Bellingham; and Lynn Sterbenz, City of Bellingham

Description: Western Washington University will begin assessing local disaster preparedness in Bellingham over the next several years. Every year students in a spring quarter course on disaster risk reduction planning will survey residents about their individual, household and community preparedness. Students will also examine the local preparedness of specific neighborhoods, groups, and service providers. As the project progresses, the data they collect will be used to improve community outreach and preparedness for earthquakes, storms and other significant disasters. This project is being completed in collaboration with the City of Bellingham’s Emergency Manager, and will engage additional City and University staff, as appropriate. Plans to coordinate with Whatcom County Emergency Management on a countywide survey are also under consideration.

Progress, June 2019: Western Washington University (WWU) faculty, the City of Bellingham, and Whatcom County created and implemented an emergency preparedness survey with the assistance of community volunteers and WWU students. High levels of engagement from multiple stakeholders led to project success. Data collection will continue for the next three-to-five years and will ultimately inform actions taken by the City of Bellingham.


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ECC Events

Past events are listed below. When available, links to attendance lists, agendas, meeting minutes are provided as well.

Fall 2019 Meeting: Sustaining Communities | Urban@UW

Spring 2019 Core Meeting

Date: March 15, 2019
Location: Western Washington University – Bellingham, WA

Winter 2019 Network Meeting

Date: January 29, 2019
Location: Portland State University – Portland, OR

Fall 2018 Core Team Meeting

Date: September 17, 2018
Location: Bullitt Foundation – Seattle, WA

Emerald Corridor Collaboratory Launch Event

Date: June 4 – 5, 2018
Location: University of Washington – Seattle, WA

Fall 2018 Core Team Meeting

Date: Monday, September 17, 2018
Location: Seattle, WA (Bullitt Center Building)

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Related Resources

Relevant articles, reports, and research papers provide direction for this collaboration and individual projects. Below is a list of some of many resources that are relevant to this initiative:

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