Since its start in 2017, Project Cities has partnered with four local communities, engaged 38 interdisciplinary faculty members, and facilitated over 75 high-impact projects with over 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students. As we look back on a transformative five years and celebrate our recent President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness, Project Cities is excited to announce the release of its first Impact Report.
As part of the EPA Resilience Webinar series, in partnership with EPIC-N, Apache Junction Parks & Recreation Director Liz Langenbach joined a panel with SCN Director Anne Reichman and Project Cities Program Manager Julia Colbert to discuss one of Project Cities’ first projects, the development of a dog park for the community.
Heads up, Apache Junction: your four-legged friends are getting a play-time upgrade! On August 19, 2021, the City of Apache Junction hosted its groundbreaking ceremonies for the city’s first off-leash dog park. As one of Project Cities first collaboration with the City of Apache Junction, seven students from Malcolm Goggin’s PAF 509 Public Affairs Capstone investigated funding opportunities, logistics, and public interest for Apache Junction’s first dog park.
The City of Apache Junction (the City) has over one hundred mobile home and recreational vehicle parks and subdivisions within its city limits. Many of these parks were built in the 1950s, before the city was officially incorporated, and thus pre-date city code. As a result, many of the parks are now relatively outdated, and in some cases, have significant code violations that pose a safety and health risk to residents. Although the parks are an affordable option for low-income residents, they can be perceived as detrimental to the city’s image, as conditions and amenities can vary significantly from one place to another. Arizona State University’s master capstone student, Maggie Dellow, saw the need to establish a clear path forward for the out-of-code parks, without reducing affordable housing stock in the city. Her recommendations included solutions to define minimum standards and processes that would both allow for economic redevelopment and prevent low-income residents from losing access to housing. The work was recognized by the Arizona Planning Association for Arizona's Best Student Project Award, 2019. The work also received fourth place in the nation for Best Student Project, 2019 at the American Planning Association.