Candidate Calls for University Partnership

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Mayoral hopeful Tom Bates called for more faculty and student input in solving the city's infrastructure problems at a packed forum with incumbent Shirley Dean Tuesday night.

Bates said the city has tremendous resources and potential for city-university partnerships, citing UC Berkeley's many graduate schools such as the Haas School of Business, the Goldman School of Public Policy and the College of Environmental Design.

"There's all this great potential with faculty and students to work in different communities," he said. "I'd love to have their ideas and energy."

In a later interview, Bates said students could help solve the city's traffic problems by conducting research and generating ideas for redesigning the city's streets and boulevards, although he has not made specific plans or spoken with university administrators or departments.

Bates also said he would invite architecture and design students to collaborate with him on opening underground creeks in Downtown.

But Dean, who dismissed Bates' idea, said the city already collaborates with students and faculty for some city projects.

"To get expertise from faculty, all you have to do is call them up," she said.

The Department of City and Regional Planning in the College of Environmental Design has been one of the most active contributors to city projects, she said.

Some UC Berkeley graduate students said while many undergraduates may be willing to do voluntary work for the city, most graduates students are too busy to work on city problems without financial incentives.

Students in the Department of City and Regional Planning, primarily undergraduates, work on studio projects such as parking surveys, safer bikeway designs and pedestrian improvements near transit stops.

"Students learn a lot, but it certainly would be possible to coordinate this more with the city," said Elizabeth Deakin, associate professor of city and regional planning.

Jacob Smith, a UC Berkeley senior in the College of Environmental Design, said if he were assigned "a real design" for the city, he would be willing to work voluntarily.

"I really feel that students don't have much of a say in what goes on in Berkeley," he said.


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