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Baseline Surveys

With an increasing demand for solid data to demonstrate that programs are in fact accomplishing what they set out to do, our assessment tools allow us to address the need for both internal and external accountability. CommUniverCity has taken a somewhat unusual direction for a university-community partnership based on service-learning, shifting the center of gravity for evaluating impact from the academic to the community side. When engaging our projects with a downtown neighborhood, our service-learning students conduct a baseline social capital survey with random samples of residents from that specific neighborhood. As social capital building is the long-term goal underlying all of CommUniverCity’s projects, these surveys provide a valuable gauge to the ongoing impact for community residents.

Survey projects serve as both a service-learning research opportunity for the student participants, as well as a valuable ongoing source of assessment data. Our annual door-to-door surveys include questions focused on specific neighborhood priorities such as street-lighting, access to health care and educational opportunities, neighborhood satisfaction, as well as awareness of CommUniverCity’s efforts in the neighborhood.

Below are the full assessment reports, created by our SJSU Urban & Regional Planning service-learning students, that include the baseline collection and analysis of data within each neighborhood we have served.

Neighborhood Assessment Reports

Northside Neighborhood Assessment

Report coming soon! Check out the Northside Neighborhood project page and the project video below.

South University Neighborhood Assessmentsun-community-assessment-cover

San José’s South University Neighborhood stands among the city’s most eclectic places. This community assessment was prepared by over 30 graduate students working as part of CommUniverCity. The report presents the current conditions in SUN and a snapshot of the different characteristics of the neighborhood. The results will help to lay the groundwork for more in-depth analyses of SUN, intended to help residents build on the neighborhood’s strengths and engage with city staff and officials in a more informed, collaborative way.


Greater Washington: Voces de la Comunidadgreater-Washington pic

This “Voice of the Community” report highlights the neighborhood
priorities that were identified by neighborhood residents as a
result of an ongoing partnership between the Greater Washington
neighborhood, San José State University, Santa Clara University,
CommUniverCity, and Catholic Charities.


East Santa Clara Street Assessment

Stretching along East Santa Clara Street from City Hall to the banks of Coyote Creek, the Urban Village study area features historic homes, mom-and-pop shops, and vivid local character. The area nonetheless suffers from underuse, with many commercial buildings falling into states of neglect and despair. In fall 2014 and spring 2015, San José State University Urban Planning students embarked on a detailed, asset-based assessment of the neighborhood to assist the city’s Planning Division with the first stage of the urban village master planning process.

Clean Creeks, Healthy Communities

The purpose of the Clean Creeks FinalClean Creeks, Healthy Communities (CCHC) project is to improve water quality in Coyote Creek by preventing and removing trash that is the result of littering, illegal dumping, and homeless encampments along the creek. In partnership with the City of San José Environmental Services Department (ESD), San José State University’s Urban and Regional Planning Department has engaged the residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the Coyote Creek Corridor in a series of surveys. The first survey was conducted in 2011 and a mid-project report was completed in 2013. This report focuses on the results of a Spring 2015 final survey conducted by students in the Departments of Urban & Regional Planning, Environmental Studies, and Anthropology. We are pleased to show the final report!

Re-envisioning Downtown San José: An Integrative Approach to Renew St. James Square

UrbanDesignDowntownSanJose_Fall2013This urban design studio explored future possibilities for redevelopment and long-term management of public open space, urban corridors, urban markets and transportation centers in downtown San José. The community is currently focused on leveraging and renewing its existing public assets given the area’s planned residential growth. Using the frameworks of social equity, economic development and sustainability, the studio collaborated with San José community and city representatives, conducted precedent analysis, and performed in-depth fieldwork to support design recommendations for three core urban areas as well as the historic St. James Square. Upon completion of the project, community leaders selected various proposals for implementation. The students’ urban analyses and design intervention proposals which span several project phases can be found at: sjurbandesign.com.

Neighborhood Assessment: Spartan Keyes

SpartanKeysCoverSpartan Keyes is a central San José neighborhood situated less than one mile south of the SJSU Main Campus.  This report synthesizes the outcomes of a comprehensive community assessment of the community and chronicles a number of efforts undertaken to collaboratively engage residents in the planning process to advance community-determined priorities.  The work was completed by fifty graduate students in our Community Assessment and Collaborative Neighborhood Planning studio courses and exemplifies the “out of the classroom and into the neighborhoods” approach that forms the cornerstone of those courses.  The finished report highlights the work of our multi-talented students in the areas of quantitative analysis, survey design and execution, cartography, clear writing, and graphic design.

CommUniverCity 2.0: Neighborhood Assessment and Recommendations

CUC2.0This technical planning report is the product of a research project conducted by a graduate student team in San José State University’s (SJSU) Department of Urban and Regional Planning for CommUniverCity San José.  Students completed a community assessment to help inform CUC’s future planning activities in Central San José. The team assessed existing conditions within a 1.5-mile radius of SJSU by compiling the most current demographic, economic, health, education, poverty and crime data available. The data was analyzed and then synthesized into a series of recommendations, which are organized under ten of the most pertinent findings (called “headlines” in this report) that will have an impact on CommUniverCity future activities within the area.

Safe Routes to School: Anne Darling Elementary and San José High School

SafeRoutesCoverThis report is a culmination of two semesters spent assessing conditions in the vicinity of two schools within San José’s Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace (FWBT) neighborhood: Anne Darling Elementary and San José High School. Graduate students in San José State University’s Masters of Urban Planning Program conducted the work in 2010 and 2011. Our primary objective in this report is to synthesize our assessment findings and make recommendations for the implementation of Safe Routes to School programs for these two schools. Such programs aim to identify and eliminate barriers to active commuting as one component of public health improvements.

Urban Agriculture Policy in San José

TUrbanAgSanJoseCoverhis report presents analysis of urban agriculture policies in the City of San José as well as some “best practices” from other U.S. cities.  A wide variety of practices are included under the umbrella of “urban agriculture,” including but not limited to: co-op grocery stores, farmer’s markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), community gardens, school gardens, entrepreneurial gardens, pocket gardens, backyard gardens,  rooftop gardens, fruit trees, food-producing green roofs, hobby beekeeping, food composting, and urban gardening classes. The report was prepared as part of an independent study class conducted in Fall 2011.


East Santa Clara Street Corridor: Assessment, Community Engagement, and Recommendations.

ESC_1_CoverThis document represents the culmination of work conducted by San José State University Masters degree candidates in the Urban and Regional Planning Department in the Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 semesters. We endeavored to create a well-constructed and usable community assessment for a section of East Santa Clara Street in downtown San José, the tenth-largest city in the United States. This assessment of the corridor encapsulates existing conditions and includes ideas for future redevelopment and economic revitalization

Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace BART Station Area Community Concept Plan

FWBT-BART-COVERThe 2010 Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace BART Station Area Community Concept Plan (2010 CCP) documents conceptual plans, urban design guidelines, and associated implementation strategies for the area surrounding the planned Alum Rock Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Station. The impetus for conducting the 2010 CCP came directly from the Five Wounds/ Brookwood Terrace (FWBT) community. Community members have expressed a strong desire to be deeply involved in formulating the characteristics of future public investments and private development for this strategic area.

San Jose Urban EcoPark

During Spring 2007, graSanJoseEcoParkduate students enrolled in “Urban Planning 260: Environmental Planning Topics” at San José State University’s Department  of Urban & Regional Planning were tasked by the Environmental Services Department (ESD) at San Jose to develop a Master Plan for a proposed “Urban EcoPark” to be located at 1608 Las Plumas Avenue in San José. Development of the site was to occur in two phases. The plan received the California Chapter of the American Planning Association  Award and the California Chapter of the American Planning Association Northern Section’s Award for Outstanding Planning Achievement for a Student Project in 2008.


Five Wounds Brookwood Terrace Neighborhood Improvement Plan Amendment

FWBTNeighborhood_ImprovementPlanAmendmentIn 2002 the Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace community developed a Neighborhood Improvement Plan (NIP) with principles, concepts, and strategies that guided improvement efforts and brought over $90 million in public funds to the community during the next four years. Encouraged by these remarkable accomplishments the community worked diligently during the 2005-2006 academic year to update its action agenda with the assistance of the San José State University urban planning team and city staff. Goals and strategies have been renewed and documented in the Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace Neighborhood Improvement Plan Amendment (NIPA), a road map for the community, the city, and organizations that have a stake in promoting a healthy, vibrant neighborhood.