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Town+Gown: NYC

Are you a researcher or practitioner in the built environment hoping to create actionable knowledge and applied research results? Then the city-wide Town+Gown program can help.

Created in 2009-2010, Town+Gown is a city-wide university-community partnership program, resident at the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), that brings academics and practitioners together to create actionable knowledge in the built environment.

Town+Gown is also an open platform research program that 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.  

Town+Gown aims at increasing evidence-based analysis, information transfer, and understanding of the built environment, using, in many instances, New York City's built environment as a laboratory for practitioners working in the city's physical spaces, and academics in the built environment disciplines, with the ultimate objective of making changes in practices and policies based on research results.

Town+Gown's unique mission and services facilitate partnerships across the academic-practitioner divide, which involves negotiating differing expectations, motivations, understanding and language to produce work of benefit to both sides.  Town+Gown provides initial links between practitioners working on projects as equal partners in knowledge creation with academics and provides support to these projects until completion, bridging the academic/practitioner divide that can make such projects challenging.

What Town+Gown Can Do for You

All practitioners and academics are welcome to participate in Town+Gown. To explore working within Town+Gown, please contact:


Director: Terri Matthews
(212) 313-3546

Town+Gown abstracts completed experiential learning projects in its annual review,  Building Ideas.