ASU’s Project Cities wraps up a successful first semester

first semester-end project showcaseASU Project Cities held its first semester-end project showcase with the city of Apache Junction at the university's Memorial Union on November 29, 2017. Professors and students from multiple campuses presented on the findings of seven courses, during which extensive time was spent researching and creating recommendations for the city that straddles Maricopa and Pinal counties. Roughly 150 people attended the showcase, including members of the Apache Junction government and community, ASU faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students. The four overarching projects for the fall 2017 semester were: Sustainability and Solid Waste Management, Understanding Homelessness, Promoting “Positively AJ” (Apache Junction’s new marketing campaign) and Off-Leash Dog Park Analysis. One presentation explored the potential of a shared service agreement with a neighboring town for pay-as-you-throw solid waste services. Another delved into strategies for expanding adventure tourism in Apache Junction, which has significant outdoor attractions. A third elaborated on best practices for creating and maintaining a user-friendly website for potential visitors. After the eight presentations, Apache Junction leaders attended a question-and-answer session with landscape architecture students who had created strategic themes for future land use and prototypes of mixed-use development master plans for the city. The following week, these students presented their final master plans to Apache Junction staff and city council. This showcase was the first of Project Cities, which launched in 2017. The program pairs ASU faculty and students with local communities to co-create strategies and solutions for more sustainable futures. Project Cities is a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N), a national network of educational institutions partnering with cities throughout the United States and world.