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Engage • Advance • Innovate

Logo: Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research


The Western Center for Metropolitan Extension and Research (WCMER) is a multi-university collaboration established by the Western Extension Directors Association to

  • increase the internal capacity of Western Extension programs to address metropolitan issues, and to
  • elevate the stature and value of Cooperative Extension to external metropolitan audiences.

Since WCMER’s founding in 2014 we have focused our efforts on applied research on best Extension practices and issues facing metropolitan areas, and professional development for Extension professionals, with a goal of better aligning programs and program delivery with the needs, issues and interest of their metropolitan constituency.

Institutional membership in the WCMER has expanded beyond the west from an original group of six founding university Extension members, to thirteen members from coast to coast. This greater participation and diversity has allowed us to broaden our collaborations, extend our reach, and engage in new projects that advance the knowledge base of Extension work in our metropolitan regions.




Membership in WCMER is open to any Cooperative Extension organization. Benefits of membership apply to all faculty and staff in your institution.



The Western Center is embarking on projects that advance the knowledge base of Extension work in our metropolitan regions.



WCMER empowers Deep Dive, Urban Sabbatical and Urban Graduate Fellows to address complex issues facing metropolitan areas.


Best Practices in Suburban Housing Affordability

Suburban communities across the United States have experienced a steady rise in median housing prices. Lower housing affordability has a host of negative consequences including increased homelessness, poor health outcomes, unaddressed racial housing inequality, and lower disposable incomes. WCMER Applied Research Fellows, Craig Carpenter, Tyler Augst and Dave Ivan from Michigan State University developed a position paper on affordable housing, focusing on first and second ring suburban cities and smaller, growing urban centers.

Tuscon Arizona skyline with mountain and university of arizona buildings at sunset

Welcome University of Arizona

The latest university to join the Western Center is the University of Arizona.

Western Center Mid Year Report

Thumb through our latest update on projects, membership, and featured work from our applied research fellows.

Urban Farming

What's NEW in Urban Agriculture

Learn more about the Multi-state Urban Ag project or review the summary and survey results from last summer’s NIFA listening sessions.

Editor's Intro LED Series Banner

Explore our Leading Edge Dialogues White Paper Series

National Urban Extension dialogue on: Density, Youth Engagement, Preparing the Extension Workforce, Data and Policy, Fulfilling the Land Grant University Mission, and Smart Cities.