UConn’s Community Research & Design Collaborative (CRDC) is the umbrella organization for the outreach work of the landscape architecture faculty. Our mission is to be a regional leader in sustainable planning and design. We help our client’s plan and design affordable, equitable, and ecologically healthy environments. Our institutional mission is accomplished by providing our client’s with objective, multi-disciplinary, state-of-the-art planning and design expertise. We promote and encourage academic-based collaborative research with an emphasis on “real world” projects as they apply to sustainable development.

CRDC and the Land Grant Mission:
We want to help you because UConn is a land grant university committed to serving the state. The land grant mission is a living, working reality that impacts communities at all points along the socio-economic spectrum. Outreach is an essential component of a land-grant university. UConn recognizes supports and encourages outreach through a wide variety of activities and programs, including service learning as an educational model. Service learning is:

… a method of teaching through which students apply their academic skills and knowledge to address real-life needs in their own communities. Service learning provides a compelling reason to learn, teaches the skills of civic participation and develops an ethic of service and civic responsibility. By solving real problems and addressing real needs, students learn to apply classroom learning to a real world context. At the same time, students provide valuable services to communities.

Therefore, we exist not only to educate the students who enter our campus, but also meet the needs of residents of our state.

CRDC Services:
We work with citizens, landowners, public officials and municipalities to incorporate new and emerging policies/techniques for sustainable development into community planning and design. Our academic-based, multi-disciplinary team approach results in specific land use plans that help guide future development in an orderly manner. Orderly development protects existing natural and built environments while allowing for reasonable, sustainable growth which celebrates the human condition.

CRDC Project Team:
Each project will be assigned a multi-disciplinary team. Each team will be headed by a tenured landscape architecture faculty member. Other team members will include CRDC faculty and graduate/undergraduate students from the Program of Landscape Architecture. Depending on project complexity, expertise from other UConn units and other state organizations will be incorporated into the team. Some of the past team members include faculty from UConn Departments of Plant Science, Natural Resources Management and Engineering, Fine Arts, and Business. We have also partnered with; Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, United States Department of Agriculture, National Park Service and the Green Valley Institute.

CRDC Criteria for Project Selection:
CRDC creates a bridge between academic research and the ‘real’ world, we must clearly articulate what constitutes scholarly research in the realm of sustainability as it pertains to the built and natural environments. The following criteria governs which projects are selected by the CRDC:

+ Is the project relevant to both UConn’s land grant mission and CRDC’s mission ?
+ Does the project offer opportunities for innovative development in knowledge,       research, or tools as they pertain to sustainable built environments?
+ Does the project engage a range of stakeholders that is broader than conventional situations?
+ Could the project result in peer-reviewed scholarly products that go above and beyond what is normally produced in real-world development initiatives?

Project Costs:
UConn underwrites many of the costs associated with our service projects. To augment the universities resources, we also obtain private, state and federal land use grants. Assistance is provided at a low-cost depending on the client’s ability to pay. The funding amount will be determined based on your project specifics and duration.