Livable City Year

March 18, 2021

UW Livable City Year program announces partnership opportunities for 2021–2022 academic year

The University of Washington’s Livable City Year initiative is now accepting proposals from cities, counties, tribes, state agencies, and special districts interested in partnering with the university for the 2021–2022 academic year.

The LCY initiative creates productive partnerships between the University of Washington (UW) and local governments and tribes. The program links the resources and human capacity of UW students and faculty — drawing across a range of UW schools, colleges, and all three UW campuses — to address multiple priority projects identified by the community partner. Areas of focus include environmental sustainability; economic development; population health; and social equity, inclusion and access, among others.

“Programs such as Livable City Year are poised to help communities in this challenging budgetary time. The task of governing still continues, even in times of relative austerity,” said program co-director Branden Born. “Students, working with faculty, can move projects along, engage wider community audiences, and achieve community goals at a low cost to the partners.”

The program has recently restructured to acknowledge the unprecedented challenges facing local governments during the pandemic. Internal support from the university has made it possible to temporarily reduce program fees for small cities while still ensuring a significant and meaningful impact within the partner community.

In addition, the program has adopted a rolling admissions cycle so that partner cities can begin projects in Autumn, Winter, or Spring quarters. This flexibility is designed to support different budget cycles across the region and allow more communities to participate each year. While the program can tackle individual projects, LCY also seeks high-quality relationships with multiple projects over multiple years, depending on community needs and resources. 

This year, the UW LCY program is continuing its partnership with the City of Sultan, which started in 2019–2020. Previous partners include King County (2020), the City of Bellevue (2018–2019), the City of Tacoma (2017–2018) and the City of Auburn (2016–2017). In previous years, students and faculty have worked on roughly 20-30 projects during each year-long partnership, delivering reports and recommendations for city leadership.

Cities, counties, tribes, state agencies, and special districts interested in exploring a Livable City Year partnership are invited to contact Program Manager Teri Thomson Randall at

UW’s Livable City Year (LCY) program is led by faculty co-directors Branden Born (Urban Design and Planning) and Jennifer Otten (Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences). The program launched in 2016 in collaboration with UW Sustainability and Urban@UW, and with foundational support from the College of Built Environments, the Department of Urban Design and Planning, Undergraduate Academic Affairs, and the Association of Washington Cities.

The program is modeled after the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program and is a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network.

For more information, contact Livable City Year at or visit our website LCY.UW.EDU.