Salem, Oregon downtown, Wikipedia free licensed photoThe University of Oregon is marshaling a veritable army of faculty and students in architecture, law, business, and other fields to help Oregon’s capital transition to a more sustainable and accessible future.

Short on tax dollars, Salem, a city of 150,000 people, will be the academic sandbox for roughly 600 University students in 25 classes who will devote 80,000 hours during the coming year.

The novel program, part of the university’s three-year-old Sustainable Cities Initiative, will focus on making Salem more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

Students in architecture, planning, law, journalism and business classes will explore how Salem could nurture green business clusters, reuse industrial byproducts, connect parks with bicycle paths, redevelop brownfields and design energy-efficient municipal buildings, among other things. Just as important, the students will consider market and regulatory barriers to implementing their ideas.

(READ the story in New York Times)

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