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Jay Davies: Community Builder

July 23, 2021

We are pleased to congratulate Jay Davies, with the City of Peoria on his receipt of the Gabe Zimmerman “Community Builder” Award!

Jay currently serves as the Interim Public Works Director and fmr Chief of Staff for the City Manager’s Office. The “Community Builder” award seeks to recognize efforts made by individuals that advance community pride through job creation and training, healthy communities, environmental and historical preservation, volunteer and philanthropic efforts, and educational advancement.

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Student spotlight: Will Walker

July 7, 2021

We are pleased to highlight one of our star alumni, William Walker, a passionate sustainability undergraduate student. In Fall 2020, William worked with the Town of Clarkdale on the Sustainability park project in Nalini Chhetri’s Urban Sustainability Best Practices Application course. As part of this project, William worked on a small team to identify best practices for sustainability education and outdoor recreation for the Town’s 100-acre park, as well as strategies to develop sense of place through trails.

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Student spotlight: Emily Hinkle

July 1, 2021

We are excited to highlight Emily Hinkle, a proud Arizona State University and Project Cities alumni, who participated in multiple applied projects from 2019-2021, with the City of Glendale and the City of Peoria. Following graduation, Emily was also hired as a contractor by the SCN team, to conduct additional research and writing for the City of Peoria’s water conservation and drought contingency planning project.

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Calling ASU faculty: Project development workshop with Peoria

June 15, 2021

On June 24, 2021, Project Cities hosts its Faculty Round Tables event, to network with Peoria leaders and discuss class projects for the 2021-2022 academic year.


RSVP here!


ASU faculty are invited to join staff from 9 City of Peoria departments to co-develop class projects. At this event, we will host a session of virtual breakouts for faculty members to discuss and workshop proposed projects, and to brainstorm new ideas. The goal is to match faculty and students to meaningful, hands-on community projects with real impacts in the upcoming academic year.

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Clarkdale and Project Cities recognized with ASU EPICS Community Catalyst Award

June 9, 2021

In other news, it was our pleasure to share this year's ASU EPICS Community Catalyst Award with our friends at the Town of Clarkdale. Over the years, the Project Cities team has arranged several projects with the innovative students in ASU EPICS, a program, of the Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering. This particular project was a multi-team, multi-semester project assessing needs and strategies to help the Town of Clarkdale upgrade their digital infrastructure. The teams addressed some acute needs for better internet service for the community's students, as well as planning for longer-term needs, developing plans to incorporate strong public wifi and smart PA systems into planned park upgrades.

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Earth Day AZ beautified the landscape and inspired residents

June 7, 2021

Earth Day was something special in Arizona this year: it was a united movement of celebration and action. 10 Mayors and communities across the state joined together for Earth Day AZ, a collaborative effort to celebrate current climate action and inspire even more. From Flagstaff to Tucson and El Mirage to Oro Valley, Mayors, cities and residents showed up in solidarity this Earth Day, in whatever way they could.

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Faculty spotlight: Al Brown

May 27, 2021

We are pleased to highlight one of the network’s outstanding faculty members, Mr. Al Brown. Al is a Senior Lecturer and the Director of Environmental Research Initiatives at ASU’s Polytechnic campus. He is also Faculty with the Environmental Technology Management program. Al participated in the program’s inaugural partnership year, and has facilitated a total of 5 student projects with Project Cities, since 2017.

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GovLove podcast highlights student led sustainability planning effort

May 5, 2021

For four years, Project Cities has acted as a convener for students and local government leaders to collaborate to tackle real-world sustainability problems and develop professional skills. As we wrap up another successful semester, Project Cities Program Manager Steve Russell and Victoria Caster from the City of Peoria were featured on GovLove, a podcast about local government, to discuss Peoria’s collaboration with ASU to work on the city’s Sustainability Action Plan (SAP). The discussion spans various topics, from the work that students have done with Peoria, as well as other partner communities, to the potential of collaboration with other cities and EPIC-N.

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Clarkdale project showcase recaps spring '21 projects

April 27, 2021

On April 15, 2021, ASU Project Cities hosted its third student showcase with the Town of Clarkdale. Students, faculty, and partners convened to learn more about this semester’s student projects, with video presentations from students. The floor was then opened for a Q/A session, presenting students with the opportunity to expand on their recommendations and connect with Clarkdale staff.


A video recording of the event will be posted to our YouTube channel, subscribe here.

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Peoria projects wrap up with spring '21 showcase event

April 26, 2021

On April 14, 2021, ASU Project Cities hosted its spring virtual student showcase for the City of Peoria student projects. Students, ASU staff, and Peoria staff gathered to learn about this semester’s student findings and answer additional questions. Following the presentations, participants split into virtual poster Q/A sessions to talk directly with the students and ask additional questions.

A video recording of the event will be posted to our YouTube channel, subscribe here!

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10 AZ Mayors Unite to Honor Earth Day 2021 and Advance Regional Sustainability Efforts

April 21, 2021

Ten Arizona Mayors pledged to partake in a statewide celebration of Earth Day this April. Their video message, as well as an extensive list of Earth Day events and activities, can be found at In partnership and as participants of ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network (SCN), the Mayors and their respective cities are working to advance local and regional sustainability and resilience measures all year long.

Exciting and creative events are taking place across the state, both virtually and safely in person. In northern Arizona, Flagstaff is hosting virtual engagements through social media videos that highlights an outline for climate change and call to action.

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Recap: Measuring impact using the Sustainable Development Goals framework

March 29, 2021


Graphic showing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals
There are 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Learn more at

On Wednesday, March 24, Project Cities Program Manager Steve Russell was joined by Dr. Gregory Broberg, community partners Tracie Hlavinka (Town of Clarkdale) and Jay Davies (City of Peoria), and EPIC-N Program Manager Marshall Curry to present at ASU’s Social Embeddedness Network Conference. The conference brings together various university faculty, staff, students, and community partners to present on their work in community engagement and public services.

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Peoria Planning and Zoning Commission offers key insights on student project

March 25, 2021

On Thursday, March 18, 2021, PC faculty and students convened with the City of Peoria’s Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss one of the spring 2021 student projects. Project Cities students Leslie Carnie, Raymundo Cabrera, and Patricia Cooley were joined by PC Program Manager Steven Russell, and longtime Project Cities faculty member Meagan Ehlenz, to share with City of Peoria commission members about the Spring 2021 student project, Affordable Housing Study: ADU Strategies, marking the first-time students have been able to speak in person with City staff since the start of COVID-19.

“Engaging in the process and interacting with the Commissioners and City Staff members was very impactful for me as well as the project.  The city-specific data they provided regarding ADU perceptions, preferred uses, and potential pitfalls will be crucial to the successful completion of our report.”

Patricia Cooley, Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning Student

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68 years of local government experience represented at Project Cities’ “Meet Peoria” event

March 1, 2021

On February 24, 2021, ASU Project Cities hosted a somewhat-rescheduled spring semester kickoff event with City of Peoria leadership and Project Cities students. Students had the opportunity to gain insights from a panel of Peoria city leadership, who all turned out to be ASU grads, representing a combined 68 years of local government experience. Peoria City Manager Jeff Tyne and Deputy City Manager Katie Gregory answered questions about public sector professional development and provided valuable insights on the current and future state of housing in Peoria, as well as the importance of community engagement for student projects.

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Students meet Clarkdale leadership to discuss project during spring 2021 kickoff event

February 4, 2021

On January 29, 2021, ASU Project Cities hosted the Clarkdale Kickoff. This virtual event featured a panel discussion with Town leadership about Clarkdale’s values and character, followed by breakout meetings between students and their project leads.  Students were joined by a team of town stakeholders, including: Mayor Robyn Prud’homme-Bauer, Vice Mayor Debbie Hunseder, and Town Manager Tracie Hlavinka.

Students engaged the Clarkdale team in a wide-ranging conversation, starting with collecting insights and contacts for their projects, but also reaching into the panelists’ career trajectory and community values.

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Students demonstrate resilience and success in fall 2020 showcase

December 7, 2020

On December 2, 2020, ASU Project Cities hosted our 7th biannual Student Showcase for the Fall 2020 semester. The event included video slideshow presentations from each student project group as well as Q&A sessions for more in-depth conversations about student’s recommendations for city leadership. The projects spanned a variety of topics, ranging from waste management and communicating during the pandemic, to developing smart towns, and sustainable parks. This transdisciplinary group of students had undergraduates, graduates, or individual capstone students from different backgrounds and educational interests.

This semester, the program supported 12 new projects and 240 students participated. Students partnered with two communities: the City of Peoria and the Town of Clarkdale. A video recording of the event is available on our Youtube channel.

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Expert community panel sessions lend project inspiration

November 14, 2020

On Thursday, October 29th students joined community experts from the City of Peoria and the Town of Clarkdale for two informative panel sessions. The Project Cities team was thrilled to further connect ASU students with city and town leadership to answer questions and gain further insight on this semester’s projects. If you missed the live discussions, check out the recordings below!

City of Peoria Communication Office Panel

Students from classes in sustainability leadership, communication, and engineering interacted with panelists Jennifer Stein, Peoria’s Director of Communications, and Kristina Perez, Peoria’s Marketing and Communications Manager, as well as ASU risk communication scholar, Majia Nadesan. Our community experts lent their professional perspectives on public relations and communication amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Students to present fall 2020 projects in showcase event

September 1, 2020

Project Cities managed twelve new projects for the fall 2020 semester. There are various project topics, including sustainability park planning, P83 revitalization visioning, solid waste management, and a layered approach to Covid-19 response planning. Some projects are being carried on from the past semester, and others are new, or individual capstone applied research projects.

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Call for projects: Project Cities seeks solutions-focused class projects

July 15, 2020

Cities and towns face unprecedented challenges, even moreso now during to the COVID-19 pandemic. The unique issues local government agencies deal with demand a research-backed, multidisciplinary response. Leverage your classroom activity to add a meaningful applied learning experience for students that also makes a difference for local communities.

ASU's Project Cities manages contracts and relationships with city partners, facilitates site visits with stakeholders, offers a small budget and technology resources, and publishes project summary reports. Learn more and see the current project topic list.

Planned and continuing municipal sustainability projects incorporate some component of sustainability; economic, social, environmental, or a combination of the three. Many span multiple semesters and groups of students, allowing projects to take on big-picture, multi-disciplinary challenges. In addition, community partners seek assistance on applied projects centered around COVID-19, that examine local responses to the pandemic.

Project Cities' community partners will consider all ideas. Pitch projects via email to

Virtual showcase recap, spring 2020

May 21, 2020

On April 29, 2020, ASU Project Cities hosted our first-ever entirely virtual Student Showcase for the Spring 2020 semester. Over one hundred attendees appeared on Zoom throughout the day to learn from this semester’s students and discuss their research findings. The event featured multiple virtual “rooms,” including the main stage presentations and their project findings and breakout Q&A sessions. A virtual “lobby” also remained open throughout the day for tech support, a reception, and networking.

The online showcase featured a mix of 74 graduate and undergraduate ASU students with diverse backgrounds and educational interests. This semester, students partnered with two communities: the City of Peoria, and the Town of Clarkdale on six projects. A video recording of the event is available online here.

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