Urban students have the opportunity to participate in service learning through their coursework which connects the classroom to the community. Concepts learned in class come to life through research and engagement that happens in the living lab of Boise, Idaho. Recently we have assisted the City of Boise with research regarding how western cities are planning for urban food systems. Students enjoy the collaborative nature of these projects, learning and applying skills to real world problems, and meeting and connecting with members of the community.
The Urban Studies Field School uses an interdisciplinary and problem based learning approach to examine a local topic from the perspectives of different academic fields that are involved. Spring 2019 is focused on the development of historically industrial sites. What does this look like from an economic, environmental, and planning perspective? How does this change the identity of a city and those living there? Are their ways to mitigate negative impacts? These are just a few of the questions the field course will be answering. After collecting information locally, students and faculty will travel to another city to look at how they approached the same topic. Students will produce a web-based portfolio of their experience detailing their research, comparing and contrasting sites, and showcasing their work.