The Center provides opportunities for community engagement through the lens of the ecology of cities to advance understanding of the interconnected human and ecological systems in our communities. 

The ecology of cities is the study of the ways that human and ecological systems evolve together in urban and urbanizing regions, enabling people to make more informed decisions about the future of places they care about. This ecology of cities framework fosters collaborative, holistic and ground-up approaches to city building, and can help bring grace,  justice and aesthetic balance to our communities. The Center’s multi-disciplinary approach to community engagement is applied through educational programs, collaborative projects, fellowships, on-line portals, workshops and publications. 

Cities are living organisms where dynamic systems metabolize every element. Opening doors where youth can discover these invisible flows makes opportunities for cultural change visible. Teaching youth with dynamic, hands-on lessons about the intricate systems of cities empowers them to grasp a city’s essence. This understanding expands the ways they can participate in shaping, repairing and preserving the places they care about. To make a difference we have to know and love our cities. 

As part of the Ecology of Cities program and in close collaboration with the Consortium for Dark Sky Studies (multi-university, based at the University of Utah), the Center is investigating the environmental, health and social justice impacts of light pollution, light trespass and "the disappearing dark” in urban areas.