Livable City Year

About Livable City Year

Connecting local communities with the boundless potential of UW students and faculty, creating benefits for all involved.

Livable City Year student teamWhy Livable City Year? 

Most cities lack the capacity to fully address sustainability goals. Meanwhile, ideas and human capacity abound within universities. UW is a powerhouse of research and innovation on all aspects of urban life, but this knowledge isn’t always available to communities. Through Livable City Year, UW faculty and students from multiple disciplines work on high-priority projects identified by our community partners.

Who are your partners?

Livable City Year works with cities, counties, tribes and special districts of all sizes and budgets. Our partnerships can have a broad range of timelines and scopes based on community needs.

Who benefits?

The program engages hundreds of students in high-priority projects, creating momentum on real-world challenges while enabling students to serve and learn from communities. Partner communities benefit directly from bold and applied ideas that propel fresh thinking, improve livability for residents, and invigorate city staff.

How does it work?

For an overview of the program model that connects the UW with local governments, watch this video:

What have you done lately?

The UW partnered with the City of Bellevue during the 2018-2019 academic year. The partnership involved 30 projects spanning a vast array of disciplines that included Urban Design and Planning, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental and Forest Sciences, Communications, Public Policy, Political Science, Business, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Law, Emergency Preparedness, IT and Public Health.

Who’s behind LCY?

UW’s Livable City Year (LCY) program is led by faculty co-directors Branden Born (Urban Design and Planning) and Jennifer Otten (Public Health). 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 PlanningUndergraduate Academic Affairs, and the Association of Washington Cities.

LCY’s Program Manager is Teri Thomson Randall. 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, email

Livable City Year team

From left to right: LCY Co-Directors Jennifer Otten and Branden Born, LCY Program Manager Teri Thomson Randall, and LCY Program Assistant 2018-2019 Michelle Abunaja.