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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recent Work

The Center for Cities & Schools (CC&S) at UC Berkeley is an interdisciplinary research center, promoting high quality education as an essential component of urban and metropolitan vitality to create equitable, healthy, and sustainable cities and schools for all. Our work focuses on two interrelated questions:

  • How can neighborhoods, cities, and regions promote high quality public education?
  • How can public education promote healthy, vibrant neighborhoods, cities, and regions?

Working at the intersection of urban policy and public education, we utilize three strategies to advance our work: Education, Collaborative Practice, and Research. Through public forums and courses at UC Berkeley, the Center educates future and current leaders on how to improve both cities and schools through their professional work. To engage the broader community, the Center provides direct service "collaborative practice" through activities such as: professional development workshops for public school teachers, district officials, and elected leaders; and public events and symposiums highlighting key issues. To better inform practice and policy decisions, the Center conducts and disseminates scholarly research. Through these mechanisms, the Center cultivates systems change by bringing diverse actors together, growing active and informed participants, and constructing common language to leverage school and community improvement.

Cover page of California’s K-12 Educational  Infrastructure Investments: Leveraging the State’s Role for Quality School Facilities in Sustainable Communities

California’s K-12 Educational Infrastructure Investments: Leveraging the State’s Role for Quality School Facilities in Sustainable Communities

(2012)

In California’s K-12 Educational Infrastructure Investments: Leveraging the State’s Role for Quality School Facilities in Sustainable Communities, the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Cities & Schools provides an analysis of the state’s K-12 infrastructure policies, regulations, and funding patterns. Findings reveal the need to greatly refine school facilities planning and funding policies and practices to promote sound, efficient, and goal-oriented decision making at state and local levels. The recommendations reenvision the state’s role in K-12 infrastructure as one of appropriately supporting educational outcomes and contributing to more sustainable communities through a framework of public infrastructure best practices for sound planning, effective management, adequate and equitable funding, and appropriate oversight. The recommendations build on those put forth in recent California Department of Education (CDE) reports, including Schools of the Future (2011), Blueprint for Great Schools (2011), and Re-Visioning School Facilities for the 21st Century (2009), and lay out a vision, policy framework, and implementation plan to equitably and efficiently improve learning environments for California’s 6 million students.

  • 1 supplemental PDF
Cover page of Families and Transit-Oriented Development: Creating Complete Communities For All

Families and Transit-Oriented Development: Creating Complete Communities For All

(2012)

This planning manual illustrates why planning for transit-oriented development that serves families is important for creating complete communities and how such integrated planning can be achieved. The first half of the book lays out the why- families are an important market segment that can receive many benefits from locating in transit-rich locations with a mix of housing, retail, and other uses. Next, the manual describes the ten core connections between TOD and families, and then delves into seven action-oriented steps to support family-friendly complete communities and high-quality edcuation. 

Cover page of Growth & Opportunity: Aligning High-Quality Public Education & Sustainable Communities Planning in the Bay Area

Growth & Opportunity: Aligning High-Quality Public Education & Sustainable Communities Planning in the Bay Area

(2011)

CC&S and ABAG partnered support and inform local and regional innovation connecting schools to the Bay Area’s regional development and conservation strategy (FOCUS) and the Sustainable Communities Strategy as mandated by California’s climate change legislation, Senate Bill 375. Our new report identifies tangible policy levers at both the regional and municipal levels that realize the co-benefits of pursuing complete communities and high-quality education in tandem. We describe the regional educational landscape and develop recommendations about specific strategies to achieve cross-sector “win-wins.”

* What are the educational impacts of non-school policies, such as housing, transportation, and other regional planning investments?

* What are the impacts of educational efforts on non-school issues, such as housing choice, sustainable transportation utilization, and community-building opportunities?

* How can the region’s policy and practice interventions and investments in housing and transportation be made to strategically support improving school quality?

Cover page of Opportunity-Rich Schools and Sustainable Communities: Seven Steps to Align High-Quality Education with Innovations in City and Metropolitan Planning and Development

Opportunity-Rich Schools and Sustainable Communities: Seven Steps to Align High-Quality Education with Innovations in City and Metropolitan Planning and Development

(2011)

Policies and strategies at all levels of government are increasingly associating educational outcomes with community planning and housing. Challenges remain for local officials and practitioners trying to align these policy areas, including persistent spatial inequity and rigid institutional silos. This report develops seven steps to link education and planning policy at the local level. The authors draw from a national scan of model activities, interviews with key experts and agency staff members, and the authors' experience working with local governing bodies. The report identifies practical solutions that encompass assessing the current educational environment, engaging the community, strategic planning and implementation of investment, and institutionalizing successful innovations.

Cover page of Putting Schools on the Map: Linking Transit-Oriented Development, Families, and Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area

Putting Schools on the Map: Linking Transit-Oriented Development, Families, and Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area

(2010)

This paper examines the connections between Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and families, schools, and expanding educational opportunities for all children. This paper is the first of its kind; therefore, we take an exploratory approach to understanding and framing these interconnections. We provide a rationale for the linkages at this nexus, highlight the Ten Core Connections between TOD and public education, highlight five case studies in the Bay Area, and make recommendations for enhancing city-school collaboration in TOD.

  • 1 supplemental PDF
Cover page of Joint Use of Public Schools: A Framework for a New Social Contract

Joint Use of Public Schools: A Framework for a New Social Contract

(2010)

This paper adds to the growing conversation about and demand for joint use as a way to provide services to children and families in convenient locations, improve opportunities for physical activity by increasing use of school recreational and outdoor spaces, leverage capital investments, and more, provide a conceptual frame for the joint use of PK-12 public schools. We establish definitions for joint use and frame the basic challenges and opportunities to facilitate better conversations and planning for these type of collaborations.

Cover page of San Francisco's Public School Facilities as Public Assets: A Shared Understanding and Policy Recommendations for the Community Use of Schools

San Francisco's Public School Facilities as Public Assets: A Shared Understanding and Policy Recommendations for the Community Use of Schools

(2010)

This report presents research findings and policy recommendations from a year-long process involving a diverse stakeholder group to establish a more effective "joint use" strategy in San Francisco that supports students, families, schools and communities.

Cover page of Trajectories of Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color: Built Environment and Placemaking Strategies for Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities.

Trajectories of Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color: Built Environment and Placemaking Strategies for Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities.

(2010)

This chapter investigates the ways in which unhealthy environments — and the urban planning and institutional practices that created them — structure disadvantage and undermine the life chances of young men and boys of color. We then describe how innovative city-school initiatives are aligning and leveraging the diverse elements of the built and social environment to create the trajectories of opportunity this group needs and deserves.

  • 1 supplemental PDF
Cover page of Smart Schools, Smart Growth: Investing in Education Facilities and Stronger Communities

Smart Schools, Smart Growth: Investing in Education Facilities and Stronger Communities

(2009)

CC&S joins PACE to explore California's historic $82 billion school construction investment opportunity to advance educational quality and lift local communities. This report contributes to a new conversation about how mindful school construction decisions can enrich metropolitan areas and sustainable forms of regional development.