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SDSU to Examine Urban Renewal

SDSU’s School of Public Affairs will collaborate with Northeastern University and four European universities to study American and European communities.
In the commercial district of Reggio, Italy, an electrical escalator increases access to shops.
In the commercial district of Reggio, Italy, an electrical escalator increases access to shops.

Along with Northeastern University of Boston and universities in Italy, England and Finland, the SDSU School of Public Affairs will research and teach urban regeneration with a focus on commercial local urban districts, exchange faculty and disseminate their findings to both the European and American communities.

About the grant

Funding was provided by a Marie Currie Grant that aims to examine tools to renovate degraded public spaces and improve the attractiveness and accessibility of deprived urban areas by focusing on local commercial activities over a period of three years. During these three years, the SDSU School of Public Affairs and Northeastern University will lead the grant's steering committee.

The project entails student and researcher exchanges, allowing them experience both European and American universities. Faculty researchers will come to San Diego in August 2012 to tour communities, meet with government and civic leaders, talk to community members and gather data on commercial centers.

The grant brings experts from around the world to examine urban centers in San Diego.

Students from the four European universities will come to San Diego in January 2013 for up to six months to conduct targeted research with SDSU’s public affairs faculty. The School of Public Affairs and SDSU Institute of Public and Urban Affairs researchers will explore research projects, such as food systems and administrative local capacities, among a variety of issues related to urban regeneration.

Learning by example

For instance, Università degli Studi di Roma in Rome, Italy, is interested in how business funds can be used to build regional capacity. Researchers from Rome will likely spend time in the region examining the city of San Diego's extensive Business Improvement District structure to learn how public-private partnerships can be used to increase business and regenerate urban communities.

“The grant brings experts from around the world to examine urban centers in San Diego,” said Mounah Abdel-Samad, School of Public Affairs assistant professor and director of the Institute of Public and Urban Affairs.

“We will learn from their examination of and experience in San Diego, then we will go to their cities to research and learn more about our own initiatives.”

Building connections

The grant will also provide an excellent opportunity for SDSU to build permanent connections with European universities and policy makers.

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