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2020 SPUR Impact Awards: SJSU's CommUniverCity Team Partners with City Residents to Support Community-Based Planning 

Left to Right: Ralph Robinson, Richard Kos, Jason Su

The 2020 SPUR Impact Awards recognize outstanding job performance by public sector leaders in Santa Clara County.

CommUniverCity SJSU is a three-sector partnership with the community (“Comm”), San Jose State University (“Univer”) and the City of San José (“City”). The Community Planning team for CommUniverCity organizes and implements a year-long engagement project with underserved neighborhoods in San José. The team includes SJSU graduate students pursuing Master’s degrees in Urban Planning, along with their faculty advisors and facilitators from CommUniverCity SJSU. Using community planning principles, the team works with local residents, key stakeholder groups and other partners to identify neighborhood assets, challenges and opportunities. This information leads to creation of a professional quality planning report at the end of every academic year that the community can use to advocate for its top priorities.

Since 2004, CommUniverCity’s Community Planning Projects have worked with fifteen neighborhoods on important urban planning issues to help community members understand smart growth principles. Reports have resulted in direct infrastructure improvements, such as Safe Routes to School projects for two area schools, which included the installation of flashing beacons and median islands. Other infrastructure improvements included the design and construction of an outdoor living room and mural in Northside Neighborhood supported by a $45,000 grant from Knight Foundation. CommUniverCity attends neighborhood association meetings and maintains a running Community Wish List used to recruit SJSU faculty members to participate in community-identified neighborhood improvement projects.

Learn about our other 2020 honorees:

Senator Jim Beall Creates Solutions to California's Toughest Problems

Ed Solis Transforms Streets Into Public Space for Everyone

Building Reach Code Team Helps San José Go Carbon Neutral

Rebecca Garcia Helps Provide Housing and Shelter for All