UT Smart Communities Initiative

For our students, it’s service learning. For our communities, it’s revitalization. And when we come together, it’s smart business.

Together, we make change.

UT’s Smart Communities Initiative, part of the Office of Service Learning, is founded on the idea that universities and communities should work together to improve the health and vitality of their areas. Our college has been doing just that since 1976, when our first design/build project took place, and through our urban design studios, which began in 1995.

Professors Brad Collett, Tricia Stuth and Katherine Ambroziak helped establish Smart Communities Initiative in 2014, and we’ve contributed every year since.

Through these service-learning partnerships across Tennessee, our students are learning to appreciate others’ perspectives and collaborate to achieve more economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable places.

2014-2015: Cleveland, Tennessee: Revitalization and Re-use of Downtown and Surrounding Areas

Students in Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Interior Architecture, led by professors Brad Collett, Tricia Stuth, Liz Teston and Mary Beth Robinson, reimagined underutilized and abandoned properties and investigated

  • Water Quality/Stormwater Infrastructure Mapping
  • Inman Street Improvements Planning
  • Sidewalk Planning, Greenway Extension and Bus Shelter Design
  • Renovation of Cherokee Hotel and Bradley County Health Department Building
  • Redevelopment Plan for the Central City Brownfield
  • Parallel Public Involvement and Neighborhood Capacity Building Plan
  • State Road 60 Access Management Planning Study

2015-2016: Southeast Tennessee Development District: Multiple Projects for the Region, Municipal Area and County

  • A joint team of Landscape Architecture and Civil & Environmental Engineering students, led by Tracy Moir-McClean, Architecture, developed a vision plan for a greenway and trail system to connect destinations in the greater Chattanooga region.
  • Brad Collett, Landscape Architecture, led students to develop recommendations to improve the physical, chemical and biological health of impaired water bodies in the region.
  • Katherine Ambroziak’s Architecture studio worked to increase education and awareness about the regional sites of the Trail of Tears.
  • Moir-McCLean also led a studio to increase public recreational access and convention space.
  • Scott Wall, Architecture, led students to provide site-based and architectural programming options for the future use of Bledsoe State Forest as an educational and tourist destination.

2016-2017: Lenoir City, Tennessee: Series of Projects to Reactivate the Downtown Area

  • Architecture students Tricia Stuth’s studio investigated multiple sites and buildings for adaptive reuse, expansion and redevelopment.