Building actor-centric transformative capacity through city-university partnerships

Lauren Keeler, Fletcher Beaudoin, Arnim Wiek, Beatrice John, Amy M. Lerner, Richard Beecroft, Kaidi Tamm, Andreas Seebacher, Daniel J. Lang, Braden Kay, Nigel Forrest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Cities worldwide are rising to the challenge of sustainable development, calling for large-scale and fast-paced transformations towards sustainability. Urban sustainability challenges are now being reframed as a lack of capacity of individuals and organizations to carry out such socio-technical transformations. This article expands on transformative capacity literature by elucidating the concept of actor-centric transformative capacity. It focuses on the unique role city-university partnerships (CUPs) can play in catalyzing and supporting effective urban sustainability transformations. Two case studies on CUPs in Portland, Oregon and Tempe, Arizona are used to identify determinants of actor-centric transformative capacity, their role in the transformative capacity of urban systems, and how they are built through CUPs. The article concludes with strategies for building effective CUPs capable of building actor-centric transformative capacity among university actors and city administrators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-538
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 15 2019


  • Capacity
  • Partnerships
  • Transformation
  • Urban sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Building actor-centric transformative capacity through city-university partnerships'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this