Civic Collaboration Projects, Hosts

More than a dozen teams of scholars headed out to cities this summer for their Civic Collaboration projects. Rising second-year scholars investigated their designated communities’ challenges and opportunities and proposed meaningful solutions.

This year’s dilemmas covered everything from urban planning and historical preservation to economic development and agriculture.

Morehead-Cain extends sincere gratitude to the many alumni and scholars who helped secure Civic Collaboration placements for this year’s cohort, in particular: Barbara Rosser Hyde ’83, Dennis Whittle ’83, Buff Grace ’91, Laura Hogshead ’00, Liz Kistin Keller ’04, and Justin Hadad ’21.

In Denver, Colorado, scholars identified locations to install public charging stations for electric vehicles. The project involved determining criteria for site feasibility and how more stations might accelerate EV adoption. (Host: City of Centennial)

From the “Scenic City” of Chattanooga, Tennessee, scholars looked at the impact of “smart city” investments and technologies on quality of life, as well as their intersection with social determinants of health. (Host: The Chattanooga Enterprise Center, a nonprofit devoted to establishing the city as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship)

In the Twin Cities region of Minnesota, scholars evaluated barriers to increased solar energy and energy efficiency for residents and businesses, and how grass-roots initiatives might overcome them. (Host: Buff Grace ’91 of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, an organization focused on climate justice through partnerships with faith-based communities. Buff is the solar outreach manager for MNIPL.)

Amidst North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, scholars researched historical land development and demographic patterns in Asheville and proposed anti-gentrification strategies for the city’s urban planning efforts. (Host: The Planning and Urban Design Department, City of Asheville).

Scholars in Raleigh tackled the affordable housing crisis in North Carolina by assessing housing strategies and solutions in other states. (Host: Laura Hogshead ’00, chief operating officer of the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resilience)

On the West Coast, scholars considered infrastructural changes needed in Seattle such that all residents might have access to the services they need, regardless of their neighborhood, in order to become a “15-minute city.” (Office of Innovation and Performance under Mayor Jenny Durkan)

Scholars in Charleston, South Carolina, explored the nexus between preservation initiatives and equitable redevelopment and environmental justice. (Host: Historic Charleston Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to preserve and protect architectural, historical, and cultural heritage in the Charleston region)

A team headed to the “Sunshine State” pursued questions of public memory, identity, and storytelling, with a focus on how Jacksonville, Florida, might empower its communities to co-own and co-create the city’s narrative. (Host: Jessie Ball duPont Fund, a grant-awarding charitable organization)

In Central Virginia, scholars studied accessibility issues experienced by the 50+ population and athletes with disabilities on the Fall Line, a 43-mile regional trail. The team offered ideas for accommodations that would encourage participation by underserved and underrepresented groups. (Host: Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation and Sportable, an adaptive sports club)

At a mental health clinic in Memphis, Tennessee, scholars addressed barriers that comprise the digital divide between citizens and access to healthcare and health education. (Host: Church Health, a nonprofit that provides medical services through partnerships with healthcare providers, diagnostic centers, hospitals, and nutrition experts)

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, scholars investigated the online user experiences of the 50+ population in order to improve their access to internet-based services provided by local government. (Host: Liz Kistin Keller ’04 with the City of Albuquerque’s Office of the Mayor)

Scholars in Columbus, Ohio, compared how similarly sized cities allocate public funding for workforce development, behavioral health, and addiction services, and to help the City of Columbus maximize funds provided through the American Rescue Plan. (Host: Human Service Chamber of Franklin County)

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, scholars made recommendations to the City of Memphis, Tennessee, on which pandemic response programs should be extended past 2021 and how best to sustain them. (Host: Innovate Memphis, a nongovernmental organization that develops initiatives, builds partnerships, and creates solutions to advance the City of Memphis)

In Maryland’s capital city of Annapolis, scholars analyzed agricultural commerce between farmers and major corporations surrounding the Chesapeake Bay and identified the extent to which producers control land and production in the watershed. (Host: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an Annapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to the restoration and protection of the largest U.S. estuary).