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San Francisco State University Urban Studies & Planning Senior Seminar

usp research presentationThe Urban Studies and Planning Senior Seminar is a practicum in urban planning and policy. Under the direction of Professor Ayse Pamuk (since 2001) and in collaboration with community clients, the course teaches students to solve urban planning and policy problems by combining theory, substantive knowledge, and analytical skills in the context of a client-serving project. The course provides Urban Studies and Planning students an opportunity to practice working in a team and prepare a written report.  The students present their findings to a  professional jury including  clients and faculty using Power Point slides.  The course has been designated by SFSU as a Community Service Learning (CSL) course (since spring 2005). Projects are selected through an RFP process.

External clients this spring 2017 included SF Department of Aging and Adult Services, Rebuilding SF Together, SF Planning Dept., City of Burlingame, City of South San Francisco, Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), and SF Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD).

Seven student teams presented their findings to a packed audience and professional jury including clients and faculty using Power Point slides on May 2, 2017 at SF State.

List of featured student work completed by sub-field

Housing Policy and Planning
Community Economic Development
GIS Mapping
Land Use Planning
Transportation Planning



PACE holds inaugural alumni networking roundtable

On March 29, the School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement (PACE) convened Future Focused: An Inaugural Alumni Networking Roundtable and Reception in Redwood City. Hosted by PACE’s partners at San Mateo County, the event was the first large-scale convening of PACE alumni since the School was founded in 2012.

For the full story, follow this link

Gerontology Program partners with RHEC IX on “Elderly Health Disparities: Translating Research into Practice”

GRNThrough the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) Youth Health Equity Model of Practice (YHEMOP) program, the Pacific Southwest Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC IX) partnered with SF State’s Gerontology Program to perform a review and analysis of literature that focused on elderly health disparities. The result is a compilation of data and list of programs that can be used to improve health care delivery for minority elders in Region IX (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Pacific Islands). The report includes an executive summary, data matrices and annotated bibliography. It also includes a template letter and messaging for sending to relevant legislators. Martin C. Blanco, an M.A. student in gerontology and OMH Health Equity Fellow, worked with Professor Darlene Yee-Melichar, Gerontology Program coordinator and OMH Health Equity Mentor, and members of RHEC IX on this comprehensive report.  For further information, please visit:

MPA Community Service Learning Efforts Helped Kick-Start “Adopt a Storm Drain” of South San Francisco City

South San Francisco City announced on February 6, 2017 that its “Adopt a Storm Drain” initiative is off to a great start, with over 30 volunteers to help keep South San Francisco beautiful. Keeping the drains open is especially important during the fall and winter rainy season when debris can clog drains and can cause street and sidewalk flooding.

“Adopt a Storm Drain” got up and running with the help of our Community Service Learning (CSL) project team from the class of PA 727 (Program and Service Delivery) last Fall 2016. Providing initial design and outreach concepts over the semester to get the project kick-started, the CSL team was composed of Anthony Perez, Hilary Douglas, Lana Martinez, and Samantha Akwei, in Professor Ernita Joaquin’s pilot service learning class. CSL classes are being promoted across SF State to integrate engagement, service, and reflective learning within the course goals.

“I’m personally very excited about this initiative, as it gets our community involved in helping keep our City clean and safe,” said Councilmember Mark Addiego. “Doing little things like picking up trash and litter will go a long way in helping prevent future flooding in our City.”

Here is the City’s formal press release The mayor even did a video to show how easy it is to sign up.

Congratulations to the CSL Team and we wish South San Francisco City success!


BETWEEN CRIMINALIZATION AND CARE: Policing and Social Service Outreach in San Francisco’s Homeless Encampments

Dr. Brown and Dr. Yarbrough of SF State’s School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement were panelist on a Storefront Lab discussion on October 11, 2016 titled “Towards a Compassionate City: A Conversation About Homeless Encampments”.  This panel examined how policing and social service outreach plays out on the streets of San Francisco on a day-to-day basis and what impact this has both on those experiencing homelessness and on the rest of the city. It provided a historical and national context for the roles and impacts of “quality of life” laws aimed at homelessness, similar to those initiatives on the November ballot and currently operating in San Francisco.  The panelists also discuss local propositions Prop Q – Prohibiting Tents on Public Sidewalks and Prop R Neighborhood Crime Unit. The panel is available to stream at



Dr. Gen Co-Authors Article

Associate Professor Sheldon Gen (Public Administration, PACE) published an article titled “Strategies of Policy Advocacy Organizations and Their Theoretical Affinities: Evidence from Q-Methodology” (with Amy Conley Wright) in Policy Studies Journal. The article connects literature on nonprofits and policy change with policy studies literature on influence in the policy process to examine policy advocacy strategies of nonprofit organizations.

Dr. Stowers Authors Article with MPA Students

Professor Genie Stowers (Public Administration, PACE), with three MPA students, published “Understanding the content and features of open data portals in American cities” in Government Information Quarterly. This paper presents the result of research on features and content of open data portals in American cities. The authors developed five scales to categorize and describe these portals. Regression models explaining variation between cities on these scales indicate city population as an important influence, along with participation in a regional consortium. Overall, results indicate portals are in a very early stage of development and need a great deal of work to improve user help and analysis features as well as inclusion of features to help citizens understand the data.