Co-Learning for Environmental Justice

The New Solutions Journal recently published an article I wrote on “Community University Collaborations for Environmental Justice”. This piece lays out a model for deep, transformative, co-learning between community and university. It is based on the partnerships that I have been building at Tufts Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning over the past six years and which has resulted in the Co-Research/Co-Education Partnership (CoRE) model. My thanks go to the Tisch College for Civic Life, which provided me a Faculty Fellowship and a symposium to develop and share this model. The link to the article and the abstract are below.

Loh, Penn. 2016. Community-University Collaborations for Environmental Justice: Towards a Transformative Co-Learning Model. New Solutions Journal, 26(3): 412-428.


Community–university collaborations for environmental justice have pushed the boundaries of the modern research university, yet remain rooted in a research frame. This article lays out a transformative co-learning model, which aspires to cultivate long-term, place-based, reciprocal partnerships where university and community co-produce knowledge and action toward a more just, sustainable, and democratic society. Starting with joint inquiry and planning, community and university integrate teaching, research, and service activities over a cycle of three to five years and, if sustained, coevolve in place over the decades. Co-learning partnerships can anchor transformational learning, support community-based research, address critical community issues, and diversify the university. Tufts Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning has recently developed a three-year co-learning partnership model with long-time partner Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. Yet, challenges still remain in resourcing community partners, valuing local anchoring, aligning university rewards with co-learning, and ensuring that community benefits are prioritized.


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Distinguished Senior Lecturer and Director of Master of Public Policy and Community Practice, Tufts University Department of Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning

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