Generally Recurring Themes
Found Throughout
Our Work





  1. There are limited resources with information on collaboration between universities and cities. This leaves universities, and likely cities, in search of a network where ideas can be shared for the benefit of whole communities.

  2. Institutions of higher education and local governments have a responsibility to provide unified leadership to the community in order to effectively achieve progress in sustainability.

  3. Collaborations between a city and university provide benefits such as the ability to leverage resources, share knowledge of challenges, meet accelerated sustainability goals, and test innovative strategies.

  4. Sustainability is a bad word. Two of our case community cities declined to be interviewed (even when our supervisors from ICLEI reached out). This may be a result of the word sustainability being associated with politically divisive ideas (e.g. climate change), which may deter some fiscally- conservative communities. Universities are more interested in being action-driven than politically-driven.

  5. An important component of these collaborations, which addresses many of the challenges universities have faced, includes having a high-level and widely-inclusive office that organizes projects that benefit the whole community.