Department of Design and Construction311Search all websites

Action Research

Town+Gown’s systemic action research program uses service (experiential) learning and faculty-directed research to facilitate partnerships between academics and practitioners on applied built environment research projects through the collaborative inquiry model of systemic action research.


Service (Experiential) Learning Component


    Town+Gown began by developing projects within service (experiential) learning programs at participating academic institutions. These in-kind exchanges, where students provide their newly learned skills and practitioners provide real problems with real data and other information to produce knowledge, are a vital component of the Town+Gown program.

    Town+Gown has created projects with formal experiential learning programs (such as studios, workshops, capstones, clinics, service learning programs), informal experiential learning engagements, master’s theses, doctoral dissertations, and graduate and undergraduate classes or components of these classes.

    Experiential learning engagements provide benefits to both students and practitioners. Watch our video to learn about the impact of a recent series of Fordham/Gabelli experiential learning engagements with DDC from both academic and practitioner perspectives. 

    See also this article.


  • Research Agenda

    The Research Agenda is a tool Town+Gown uses to begin the conversation about projects. Town+Gown welcomes academics and practitioners to propose projects for inclusion in the Research Agenda. Town+Gown is currently revising the Research Agenda. Please contact Terri Matthews, Director, in the meantime, to submit ideas for new questions, get a copy of the old Research Agenda, or further details about the revision process.

    See also Research Question Worksheet

Faculty-Directed Research Component

Faculty-directed research is accomplished through the Town+Gown Master Academic Consortium Contract and through third-party funded research, such as National Science Foundation grants focusing on New York City, for which Town+Gown is a named collaborator.


  • Gown Advisory Council

    The Consortium Contract created a Gown Advisory Council made up of representatives from the Consortium institutions. The members can access the Gown Advisory Council web page here. For additional information, researchers at Consortium institutions can contact the Director of Town+Gown or their respective representative to the Gown Advisory Council.


  • Third-Party Funded Research


    Town+Gown is available to become a named collaborator on third-party grant funded research projects. If a researcher is interested in exploring having Town+Gown as a named collaborator, please contact Terri Matthews, Director.


    • Sustainable Healthy Cities Network

      Town+Gown is a named collaborator with the Sustainable Healthy Cities Network, a $12 million National Science Foundation-funded sustainability research network led by the University of Minnesota, Columbia University and Georgia Institute of Technology, for which New York City one of the “test bed” cities.  Integrated Urban Infrastructure Solutions for Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy, and Livable Cities, the network’s overall project, conducts scientific research to permit cities to reimagine their urban infrastructure—energy grids, road networks, green spaces, and food and water systems—and remain highly functional and desirable places to live and work, while promoting the health of residents and the environment.


Back to Town+Gown