Building transformative city-university sustainability partnerships: the Audacious Partnerships Process

Lauren Withycombe Keeler*, Fletcher Beaudoin, Abril Cid, Robert Cowley, Samantha Fahy, Amy Lerner, Caroline Moran, Diarmuid Torney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


City governments and urban universities are well-positioned to play critical roles in advancing urban sustainability transformations. However, in partnering, cities and universities often focus efforts on discrete sustainability-related projects, neglecting the development of long-term relationships and deep, inter-organizational ties that can allow for collaboration on lasting and transformational change. Yet, at both cities and universities there are often individuals who are deeply interested in developing better partnerships that contribute to the sustainability and livability of their communities. This research develops and tests an evidence-based and facilitated process to guide sustainability researchers and municipal practitioners in the development of transformational City-university partnerships for sustainability. The Audacious Partnerships Process was tested by four City-university partnerships including Arizona State University and the City of Tempe, Dublin City University and the City of Dublin, King’s College London and the City of Westminster and the National Autonomous University of Mexico and Mexico City. The Audacious Partnerships Process as well as results from post-surveys and interviews following implementation are elaborated. We conclude with key lessons for modifying and implementing the process to contribute to transformative partnership development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalUrban Transformations
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2023


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