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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

Downtown to Diridon

The City of San Jose’s Diridon Station is currently served by several commuter and intercity rail lines and will be served by California’s High Speed Rail and regional BART commuter rail in the future. The SJSU graduate student teams analyzed existing conditions, engaged dozens of community members, and produced a report with high-quality recommendations, ranging from improved wayfinding on specific streets, improving bike parking, and creating a multimodal path linking Diridon Station to Downtown. This report, which earned a Student Project Award from the American Planning Association, was presented to multiple City of San Jose departments whose representatives noted that the city plans to implement a number of key recommendations identified by the students.

Delmas Park Neighborhood Assessment

Delmas Park is situated west of Downtown San Jose, across from Highway 87. It’s a walkable and transit-friendly neighborhood, conveniently located near SAP Center and Diridon Station. It is no surprise that Google chose this location for their forthcoming expansion — their access to key transit hubs is a major asset.

The documentary video was created during Fall 2017 by graduate students from the Urban and Regional Planning Department, who were enrolled in the service-learning course called URBP 295: Community Assessment. The documentary video portrays existing neighborhood conditions and what makes Delmas Park unique. It also highlights personal stories from community leaders and key stakeholders about community assets and needs.

The community assessment report will be ready by summer 2018, which will present analyses related to community planning goals. One of the objectives of the community assessment report is to synthesize the community’s priorities, which will help community leaders advocate for positive changes in Delmas Park.

Northside Neighborhood Assessment

The Northside Neighborhood sits just north of Downtown San José, allowing residents to enjoy the community’s walkability and “small town feel” while taking advantage of its close proximity to San José’s center. It is approximately one square mile and generally bounded by Hedding Street to the north, Julian Street to the south, Highway 101 and Coyote Creek to the east, and 6th Street to the west. The report presents the current conditions of the Northside Neighborhood and focuses on the ways that the neighborhood can benefit from San Jose’s continued efforts to revitalize the area.

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.

Bicycle Safety Assessment

SJSU is located in the heart and downtown of San Jose. It’s important that alternate modes of transportation are made readily accessible to campus in a safe manner. This technical report describes the findings of current conditions of bicycle and pedestrian safety at SJSU, and the potential opportunities for the future of the campus.

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!

Fresh Carts Silicon Valley

SJSU Urban Planning graduate student team in Fall 2013 advanced the mission of The Health Trust of Silicon Valley, and the City of San Jose, to expand access to fresh produce in the city by encouraging mobile vending. In this report, students translated the complex Municipal Code into more user-friendly language for potential vendors and developed an interactive, web-based mapping tool to guide vendors to potential vending locations.

Hoffman-Via Monte Community Assessment

The Hoffman-Via Monte (HVM) neighborhood is located six miles south of Downtown San Jose. This planning report synthesizes the neighborhood assessment and public engagement work conducted by an SJSU Urban and Regional Planning graduate student team in Fall 2013. The need for this assessment stemmed from quality of life concerns in HVM raised by Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley (NHSSV) on behalf of the Responsible Landlord Engagement Initiative project. This initiative is composed of community members, property owners, residents, city officials, and community leaders dedicated to improving the quality of life in HVM and other San Jose communities.

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.

Clean Creeks Healthy Community Project: Demographic Profile Comparison & Survey Results

The Clean Creeks, Healthy Communities (CCHC) project strives to improve water quality in Coyote Creek by preventing and removing trash that results from littering, illegal dumping, and homeless encampments along the creek. In order to reduce trash in the creek, it’s important to engage with local residents to establish community stewardship of the creek corridor. To achieve this goal, it’s essential to have a baseline understanding of who lives in the community and what are their awareness of and attitudes towards the creek.

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.

Dorsa-Tockna Community Assessment: City of San Jose Better Buildings Pilot Program

This report contains the key findings discovered during a thorough assessment of the Dorsa-Tockna neighborhood in east San José between September 2010 and June 2011. It is intended to serve as platform of facts related to existing conditions in the neighborhood, upon which the City of San José’s staff can implement and build its Better Buildings Program. This program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, promotes large-scale adoption of residential energy efficiency retrofits in a variety of communities across the country.

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.

Santee Neighborhood Community Assessment Analysis

The Santee/Yerba Buena neighborhood is centrally located within the City of San José and is approximately two miles east of the downtown area. This report is the culmination of the collective work of 15 graduate students of SJSU Urban and Regional Planning during the Fall 2010 semester, working in collaboration with Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative (FMCI) and the City of San José Strong Neighborhood’s Initiative (SNI). As part of this collaborative process, the students decided to call the planning committee “Studio 201.” The members of Studio 201 are grateful for the opportunity to have worked directly with FMCI, SNI, and the community members and leaders of the Santee neighborhood.

A Parking Utilization Survey of Transit-Oriented Development Residential Properties

In the spring of 2010, a graduate class at SJSU in Urban and Regional Planning teamed up with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to study parking at transit-oriented development (TOD) residential projects in the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. By observing the parking utilization rates at 12 housing developments near VTA light rail and Caltrain stations, this collaborative research effort produced valuable, local evidence that the parking supply at projects of this type exceeds actual demand. In addition to corroborating recent research which demonstrated that other TOD residential properties in the Bay Area are also “over-parked” (Cervero 2009), this report provides useful evidence to help inform decision makers that less parking can and ought to be required for housing projects that are located near rail transit service.

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 of 2009 and spring of 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.

Alviso Community Assessment and Urban Design Analysis Report

The community of Alviso is located in northern San José at the southern-most point of San Francisco Bay where the vast, unbroken expanse of the bay’s waters transition to a complex maze of sloughs, salt evaporation ponds, tidal marshes, mudflats and rivers that are fed by drainage from the Santa Clara Valley. This report highlights the work of 24 Masters degree candidates of SJSU Urban and Regional Planning Department conducted an assessment of Alviso through statistical analyses, interviews with community members, photographs and extensive field research. Under the guidance of Richard M. Kos, AICP, student teams viewed Alviso from a wide range of angles – as statisticians, historians, social documentarians, information design specialists and ecologists.

San Jose Urban EcoPark

During the spring of 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.

Renewing the Action Agenda: Strong Neighborhoods Initiative

The Strong Neighborhoods Initiative (SNI), formally launched in 2000, is a partnership between the City of San José, San José the Redevelopment Agency (SJRA), and San José’s residents and business owners. SNI aims to strengthen the City’s neighborhoods by building clean, safe, and strong neighborhoods with independent, capable, and sustainable resident leadership. Nineteen SNI areas encompass about 10,000 acres that include older downtown and first-tier suburban neighborhoods. Each SNI area developed a Neighborhood Improvement Plan (NIP) through the collaborative efforts of city agencies, citizen groups, community-based organizations, and community members. This handbook prepared by a planning team of San José State University faculty and students during the 2006-2007 academic year is designed to serve as a template for each SNI area as it embarks on the process of renewing its Action Agenda and documenting it in a Neighborhood Improvement Plan Amendment (NIPA).

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 were 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.

K.O.N.A. Community Services Network

Through the City of San José’s Strong Neighborhoods Initiative process, residents of the King Ocala Neighborhood Area (K.O.N.A.) identified greater partnership with schools, improved community services and enhanced community facilities as top priorities. SJSU’s Urban and Regional Planning Department conducted an assessment of the neighborhood’s community service strengths and needs, and conducted an open participatory discussion with community stakeholders during the 2004-2005 academic year. This report identifies a network of community services as the vehicle to overcome these connection barriers and provide residents with accessible, high-quality community services in a safe neighborhood environment.

Planning in San Jose: A Community Guide

In the 2004-2005 academic year, the City of San José Planning Department commissioned a team of urban planning faculty and graduate students from SJSU to develop an introduction to land use planning and development for people unfamiliar with the process in the City, as well as for those already acquainted with the practice who want to learn more. The guide is a resource for residents, business owners and property owners, as well as for developers interested in building in San José.



San José’s Mayfair Community: Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety and Neighborhood Convenience Study, Safe Routes for the Mayfair Community

In the fall 2004, SJSU Urban and Regional Planning graduate students partnered with the Transportation and Land Use Coalition (TALC) and the Mayfair community to conduct a study with the objective to provide the community with a reference and guide to: 1) improve pedestrian and bike safety on the way to and around enhanced bus or light rail stations along Alum Rock Avenue; and 2) provide convenience services around the stations. This report includes a detailed demographic profile with an emphasis on the segment of the population that relies most on public transit.

24th & William Street Commercial Center Improvement Plan

The William Street and 24th-McLaughlin commercial node is located within the Five Wounds/Brookwood Terrace neighborhood in San José. During the 2002-2003 academic year, students and faculty from SJSU’s Urban and Regional Planning Department worked with community members and city staff to assess current conditions at the commercial node. In this report, the team drafted a vision statement to accurately reflect the community’s envisioned future for the commercial node and developed specific action steps to implement this vision.

33rd & McKee Commercial Node Improvement Plan

During the 2002-2003 academic year, students and faculty from SJSU’s Urban and Regional Planning Department conducted a study of the environmental, physical and socio-cultural facts of the Anne Darling and Little Portugal North neighborhoods. The team solicited input from community members regarding their impression of and vision for their neighborhood and crafted recommendations based on land use surveys as well as concerns and ideas generated at community workshops. Community members and city staff provided feedback on these recommendations. The improvement plan presented in this report focuses on affordable and easily executable solutions that would provide the greatest benefit to the neighborhood.

Tully-Senter School – Community Hub: Facilities and Services Assessment

In the 2002 Tully-Senter Neighborhood Improvement Plan, community members identified their ten top priority actions to improve their neighborhood. Leading the list was the establishment of a School Hub, a community facility that would provide space for multiple services. In the fall of 2003, the SJSU planning team contributed to the first stage in the implementation of the School-Community Hub. The purpose of the assessment was to determine whether a new community facility was indeed needed, before proceeding with the programming and conceptual design process. In this report, results of the assessment support the recommendation for a new community facility.

Seven Trees Neighborhood Plan

A team of Urban Planning faculty and graduate students from SJSU worked with city staff and the Seven Trees Neighborhood Group during the 2000-2001 academic year to apply the Collaborative Neighborhood Planning model to articulate a collective vision for the Seven Trees community. The university team recorded community feedback from public meetings and workshops and generated a plan to respond to public input. This report summarizes the planning process and has been used by city departments as a blueprint to direct public resources to further strengthen the Seven Trees community. More importantly, it has also been used by neighborhood residents to set direction in their community-building efforts.

Collaborative Plan: Bonita, Brookwood, Five Wounds, McKinley, and Olinder Neighborhoods

This report presents a neighborhood improvement plan for five neighborhoods one mile east of downtown San José: Bonita, Brookwood Terrace, Five Wounds, McKinley and Olinder. It summarizes the views and concerns of its residents, outlines the existing conditions in the community, and presents recommendations for specific areas of intervention within the neighborhoods. The work was conducted during the 1998-1999 academic year, under the umbrella of San José State’s Community Outreach Partnership Center (SJSU COPC), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), San José State University’s Office of the Provost and the Luke Hancock Foundation.

North Campus Area Plan

During the 1997-1998 academic year, faculty and students from the Urban and Regional Planning Department at SJSU worked in collaboration with members of the community and students from Horace Mann Academy to develop a plan for the urban neighborhood immediately north of the university campus. San José’s new half a million square feet Civic Center complex, along with a number of cultural and support services, have relocated in the heart of this community seven years after the completion of the plan. This report outlines the existing conditions in the community and presents recommendations for special intervention areas within the neighborhood. It encapsulates the views and concerns of its residents and business community and sets forth intervention strategies to work towards their vision.