Wisconsin School of Business students learn from City of Madison’s sustainable plans

Through a partnership that connects the city and university, Wisconsin School of Business students will recommend strategies at an upcoming event that infuse equity, economic growth, environmental sustainability, and inclusion into existing City of Madison plans.

Photo of Yongheng Deng
Yongheng Deng

Professor Yongheng Deng, John P. Morgridge Distinguished Chair Professor in Business, said he is inspired by the Wisconsin Idea—“one of the longest and deepest traditions”—which is that  education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

“Our goal for this ‘Urban and Regional Economics’ course is to guide the students to work on a group project focusing on sustainable city and neighborhood development for the City of Madison,” Deng said. “These student group projects allow students to learn from the city and urban space they are studying and living in, and also provide students opportunities to influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom.”

The students will present their findings at a poster session on Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., in Room 215. This event builds on student work from the Fall 2021 semester when groups of students analyzed the sustainable development component of the Imagine Madison plan. 


What: City of Madison / UW-Madison Project Poster Presentation
When: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: The Madison Municipal Building (215 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd), 2nd Floor, Room 215

Throughout the semester, City of Madison Performance Excellence Specialist Kara Kratowicz and Sustainability & Resilience Manager Jessica Price worked with students to consider how the elements of city plans align with equity, sustainability, and inclusion principles. These plans include the Imagine Madison Comprehensive Plan, Vision Zero initiative, Complete Green Street Program, Connect Madison Economic Development Strategy, and the Mayor’s Housing Forward agenda.   

Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, along with the downtown Madison Isthmus and Wisconsin State Capitol, are pictured in an early morning aerial taken from a helicopter on Oct. 23, 2018. This photograph was captured with a fisheye lens. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

This work not only provides students with a high impact educational experience, it also gives them a voice in local government issues. 

Kratowicz said the partnership between the City of Madison and UW–Madison through UniverCity Alliance “provides space for collaboration and bright ideas to emerge from a key segment of our community.”

“Together, we give voice to the next generation of educated leaders to help shape communities all around us,” Kratowicz said. “Student projects aimed to improve equity, sustainability, and inclusion in city plans. As public servants, city staff are encouraged to stay open to fresh perspectives aligned with the values, mission, and vision of Our Madison: Inclusive, Innovative, & Thriving.” 

UniverCity Alliance Managing Director Gavin Luter echoed Kratowicz’s sentiment, saying that these projects broaden their perspectives about how the field of business and urban economics can expand sustainability and equity.

“Through the lens of the Wisconsin Idea, we hope to expose students to new ways to think of their academic discipline and perhaps even influence their career paths,” Luter said. “This is a great example of how our role as a civic anchor institution can be activated on behalf of the city.”