Livable City Year

About Livable City Year

Connecting local communities with UW students and faculty, creating benefits for all.

Livable City Year student teamWhy Livable City Year? 

Many communities lack the capacity to fully address livability goals. UW is a powerhouse of research and innovation on all aspects of livability, 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, creating benefits for all involved.

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 from bold and applied ideas that propel fresh thinking, improve livability for residents, and support municipal 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 LCY program is partnering with the Pacific County Economic Development Council and the City of Snohomish during the 2023-2024 academic year, working on projects to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in Pacific County, Washington.

Program partners from 2019-2022 included King County, the City of Sultan, the City of Lynnwood, the City of Federal Way, and the City of Bainbridge Island.

The program partnered with the City of Bellevue during the 2018-2019 academic year. The partnership involved 30 projects across a wide variety of disciplines, including 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 2018-2019 LCY Program Assistant Michelle Abunaja.