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The CityStudio Model

Born out of the need to energize and engage students in civic issues that mattered where they lived and worked. CityStudio was founded in Vancouver in 2011 to accelerate sustainability in higher education and provide students with direct opportunities to work in and with the city on urban challenges - developing tomorrow's leaders by turning the city into the classroom.

The Theory


If we build trust-based relationships between students, city staff, faculty and community.


We can more easily co-create projects that advance specific city goals.


This will inspire action and students to be more engaged citizens.


Which will ultimately as the power to shift culture inside City Hall and higher education. 


This momentum, in turn, contributes to the global movement aiming to make our cities more sustainable, joyful, equitable and inclusive.

The Focus

The City of Ottawa’s Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) plan outlines how the City will work with community partners to improve the safety, health and well-being of Ottawa residents.

Our initial focus will be the six priorities of the CSWB Plan:

  1. Housing

  2. Integrated and simpler systems

  3. Discrimination, marginalization and racism

  4. Financial security and poverty reduction

  5. Gender-based violence and violence against women,

  6. Mental well-being

The How:
From Engagement to Impact

The CityStudio Ottawa model works through a project cycle where citizens come together to collaborate on projects and co-create solutions:

Convene municipal staff to brainstorm opportunities for collaboration.

Match opportunities with courses and form partnerships between faculty and staff.

Students develop projects with support from CityStudio, faculty and staff partners

Students develop and/or test their projects in the community and present their final deliverables.

Share all student work with staff partners and celebrate top projects with the community.

A Trusted Partnership

Citystudio is a proven, locally adaptive, and trust-based partnership model between municipalities, communities, and academic institutions to link municipality's needs and civic issues with the expertise and creativity of local researchers, faculty experts, and driven students.


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