Since 2012, CityLabs has brought together almost 250 students, faculty, and staff to work on real city projects that make Saint Paul a better place to live.

Spring 2014 marked the final term of ACTC’s CityLabs pilot. Over two years ACTC students and faculty completed 15 sustainability projects for our city departments including Parks & Recreation, Safety & Inspections and Public Works. In recognition of the program’s excellence, the City of Saint Paul recognized CityLabs with a 2014 Sustainable Partnership Award.

CityLabs has made a profound impact not only on Saint Paul but on the way ACTC’s students and faculty work together on behalf of our communities. We are so proud of the achievements of our CityLabs faculty, staff, and students, and grateful to our fantastic partners at the City of Saint Paul.

Over the coming year we will be exploring alternative program models in an effort to move the program toward financial sustainability. During that year certain CityLabs projects will continue. Stay tuned to learn more!

ACTC’s CityLabs Achievements

In CityLabs’ two-year tenure with ACTC, our students completed over a dozen projects aimed at improving the sustainability and livability of our community.

Water

  • Putting Water to Work: Reclaiming Rainwater on Dale Street
  • Drainage Concerns and Corrections
  • Stormwater Stencil & Doorhang Art
  • Residential Impervious Cover Assessment

Energy

  • LED Planning for Public Lighting in Saint Paul

Waste

  • Community Garden Compost Survey

Natural Resources

  • Resource Protection in Parklands, Phase I and II
  • Story of the American Elms in Saint Paul
  • Emerald Ash Borer Readiness for Residential Saint Paul
  • Volunteer Park Patrol
  • Natural Plantings in Residential Yards
  • Youth Job Corps

Transportation/Infrastructure

  • Downtown Saint Paul Bicycle and Pedestrian Assessment
  • Designing a Digital Atlas: Database Development for Saint Paul
  • Traffic Signal Data Infrastructure Study

 

About the CityLabs Model

CityLabs puts the academic resources of ACTC and the civic resources of our city partner to work to create a more sustainable and livable Twin Cities.

CityLabs is a faculty-driven, yearlong partnership between ACTC and one partner city in the Twin Cities metropolitan region. Experienced faculty and staff take on real projects proposed by the city partner by integrating them into existing courses throughout the academic year. This in-depth collaboration lets our city partner advance its sustainability initiatives while ACTC students and faculty get to work on real civic problems and produce tangible solutions.

CityLabs is an early member of a national network of sustainability initiatives adapted from the Sustainable City Year Program at the University of Oregon. CityLabs is unique: we are the only program that focuses on the ways undergraduate liberal arts students can improve resilience and livability in our region, and we are the only program that brings the strengths of multiple colleges and universities together to serve our city partners.

Launched in 2012, CityLabs has taken on more than a dozen projects for the City of Saint Paul, ranging from resource protection and water reclamation work to community awareness and communications projects. Learn more about our projects.