A collaborative effort to address maintenance of green infrastructure through a university–community partnership

Andrea K. Gerlak, Blue Baldwin, Adriana Zuniga-Teran, Tony Colella, Alison Elder, Molli Bryson, Neha Gupta, Bo Yang, Tara Doyle, Stella Heflin, James MacAdam, Karen L. Hanshaw, Amy McCoy, J. Keaton Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


University–community partnerships can play an important role in this green infrastructure (GI) maintenance issue and provide a valuable mechanism to support socio-ecological practice to address complex urban water issues and build urban resilience. In this Perspective Essay, we draw from our experience in a university–community partnership to create a Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Maintenance Protocol for the City of Tucson in Arizona, USA, through a collaborative, participatory dialogue process. We build upon our earlier work in the planning, design, implementation, and monitoring of green infrastructure efforts to tease out key lessons to inform university–community partnerships to support socio-ecological practice. In doing so, we explore our earlier three lessons for university–community partnerships including understanding and valuing the socio-ecological context; investing, and reinvesting, in the collaborative process; and embracing a diverse set of roles for universities. In reflecting on these lessons, we offer two additional lessons that speak to the importance of investing and engaging in equity, even when a university–community partnership seemingly appears not to be focused on justice issues, and the value in strengthening networks to maintain and further collaboration. These lessons can inform other university–community partnerships around the world to better support socio-ecological practice, expand access to GI in disadvantaged communities, and heighten urban resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-408
Number of pages16
JournalSocio-Ecological Practice Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Community engagement
  • Green infrastructure
  • Maintenance
  • Partnership
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Urban Studies


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