Beginning last Fall the City has been working with Western Washington University on a number of projects of mutual interest. This is part of the inaugural “Sustainable Cities Partnership” (SCP), a yearlong collaboration between Western Washington University’s Office of Sustainability, the Association of Washington Cities (AWC), and one partner city chosen through a competitive application process. The City of Edmonds was chosen as the first Washington city to participate in the program.
The partnership engages Western Washington University (WWU) students and faculty on sustainability and livability projects chosen in collaboration with the partner city (Edmonds). The SCP faculty and students work through a variety of studio and service learning courses providing students with experience tackling the city’s real-world projects. Occasional visits by students to Edmonds or trips to Bellingham by Edmonds staff occur during the year, and the students provide the City with final products – usually in the form of a report – at the end of each academic quarter.
WWU students present their ideas on Edmonds Marsh restoration
Students bring energy, enthusiasm, and innovative approaches to difficult, persistent problems. SCP’s primary value derives from collaborations resulting in on-the-ground impact and forward movement for a community ready to transition to a more sustainable and livable future. AWC will be an active partner in the launch of SCP, helping to solicit partner cities and to communicate the value of this effort to other elected and appointed municipal officials throughout the state. AWC will also help with the ongoing communication needs of the partner city and can help draw upon resources and skills of other entities in the region.
The first three projects were begun during the Fall and were completed in December, 2017. These included a promotion campaign for the 4th Avenue Arts Corridor, ideas for ways to improve/restore the Edmonds Marsh, and strategies for working toward a zero waste program in the city.
The City website contains a page with summaries of these and all of the other upcoming projects. Student reports are posted as they are completed by WWU classes and students (the first three project reports are already available online). The site is available at: http://www.edmondswa.gov/sustainable-cities-partnership.html . Be sure to check on the other projects as the year continues!