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University of Washington students and faculty are working with Tacoma community members and City of Tacoma staff this academic year on projects to improve livability and sustainability across Tacoma.

The projects are part of the Livable City Year program, which creates year-long partnerships between the UW and local governments and communities. The program links the resources and human capacity of UW students and faculty – drawing across multiple UW schools, colleges and campuses – to address real-world topics identified by the City of Tacoma.

This year, UW and the City of Tacoma are working together on projects that advance goals in the city’s One Tacoma: Comprehensive Plan and Tacoma 2025 strategic visioning framework.

“We are pleased to kick off our partnership with the University of Washington,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “Like the University of Washington, we are proud to honor our public promise of making our progressive, international waterfront city an even better place to live, work, innovate, start a business, or simply call home.”

The Livable City Year program celebrated the start of this year’s partnership with a kick-off event on Oct. 5 in UW Tacoma’s newly-renovated Paper and Stationery Building (1735 Jefferson Ave.). Speakers included Tacoma City Manager Elizabeth Pauli, UW Director of Regional and Community Relations Sally Clark and Livable City Year leaders, while students, faculty and City project leads were also on hand to discuss the year’s projects.
UW’s Livable City Year program launched in the 2016-2017 academic year, with 17 projects completed with the City of Auburn, the inaugural partner. The program is expanding during its second year, with students conducting about 30 projects during a year-long partnership with the City of Tacoma.

“It’s exciting to begin this year’s partnership with Tacoma and see the students start to work on these projects,” said Livable City Year faculty co-director Jennifer Otten. “Livable City Year gives students a chance to work on real-world issues that provide benefit to the community and advances the public mission of the university.”

The partnership with the City of Tacoma provides opportunities to build on existing relationships between UW Tacoma and the city, as well as create new connections across all UW campuses.

“Faculty across the university are looking forward to the great projects put forward by the City of Tacoma,” said Livable City Year faculty co-director Anne Taufen Wessells of UW Tacoma’s Urban Studies. “It’s terrific, coming from a campus that has always valued this kind of work, to have Livable City Year expand the scale and impact of a range of courses, UW-wide. Working together on a shared partnership can make everyone’s investment more worthwhile – City staff, faculty leads, and students at all stages of their education.”
This fall, UW students are working on a variety of Livable City Year projects including place-making planning around potential transit stations; assessing neighborhood emergency preparedness; creating a video library and social media plan for the City’s Planning and Development Services Department; creating a revitalization planning toolkit; collecting baseline data to inform the Tacoma 2025 strategic plan; working on neighborhood health indicators; creating an arts strategy for the Tacoma Mall neighborhood; and youth community mapping.

“We look forward to working with the University of Washington on realistic, specific and measurable goals to address issues such as education, employment, equity and accountability,” said Tacoma City Manager Elizabeth Pauli.

The students and faculty working on this year’s projects come from a wide variety of disciplines: on the Seattle campus, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, the Department of Urban Design and Planning, the Department of Architecture, the Department of Landscape Architecture, and the School of Public Health and at UW Tacoma, the Urban Studies Program, Milgard School of Business and the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

Livable City Year is led by UW faculty directors Branden Born with the Department of Urban Design and Planning, Jennifer Otten with the School of Public Health, and Anne Taufen Wessells with UW Tacoma Urban Studies.


Each year the Islamophobia industry spends more than $30 million to make Americans afraid of Muslims and Islam. The websites, YouTube videos, books, white papers and media stars of the Islamophobia industry turn the hearts and minds of people against one another, paving the way for a more divided, fearful future.

We don’t have to live in that future. Together we can build one based on our shared values and vision for America.

Faith leaders can play a key role in sharing accurate information about Islam and Muslims, creating relationships between different faith communities and participating in the beloved community for which we all long. Civic leaders, public safety officers and education leaders can play a key role in protecting the civil and religious liberties of all, continuing our work of forming a more perfect union.

We are inviting faith leaders from all churches, mosques, synagogues and temples as well as civic and community leaders to join Aneelah Afzali (MAPS-AMEN) and Pastor Terry Kyllo (Neighbors in Faith) for an overview of the Islamophobia industry, the threat it poses to our nation and civil liberties, and what we can do about it together. It will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 3 p.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by The Narrows, 6730 N. 17th St. This two hour event will include time for Q & A and interaction with faith, political and education leaders in your area. MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network), Neighbors in Faith, The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, Faith Action Network, Council on American-Islamic Relations WA, Church Council of Greater Seattle, The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, The Northwest Washington Synod of the ELCA, The Southwestern Washington Synod of the ELCA & Pacific Northwest District of the United Church of Christ.

For more information, contact Terry Kyllo at (360) 770-2774 or email terry@neighborsinfaith.org.

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