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Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities

Welcome to the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Center for Livable Communities. The Riley Center houses programs of academic study, research and community service. While the Riley Center has served the College of Charleston and the greater Charleston community since 1978, the renaming of the Center in 2010 reflects a more applied and committed focus to enhancing urban life in the Charleston area.

The Riley Center is committed to forging connections between the campus and the broader community. It focuses on sustaining the legacy of Mayor Riley through programs and projects directed at various aspects of developing and maintaining livable communities in urban, suburban, and rural context. The Center carries out its mission by assisting in connecting community needs with faculty and student research interests, facilitating the attainment and administration of grants, providing expertise and assistance to public and nonprofit organizations, and supporting several academic degrees. The goal of fostering livable communities builds off current expertise among College faculty and helps to foster new areas of strength.

For more information on the Vision, Mission, and Services offered by the Riley Center, please visit our About Us page.

For more information on Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., please click here.

Current and Ongoing Projects

Charleston Fire Department Strategic Plan: The Riley Center is working with the Charleston Fire Dept. to assist them in obtaining community feedback and incorporating it into their department plan.

Charleston Police Department- Department of Justice COPS grant: The Riley Center just completed working on a Department of Justice grant with the CPD to examine and strengthen their efforts in community outreach and youth engagement in particular.  The Center conducted an analysis of Camp Hope and Friday Night Lights for the CPD as part of this project. 

South Carolina Community Loan Fund – Healthy Food Initiative: The Riley Center has been working with the SCCLF to evaluate the programs they have developed to address the lack of healthy foods available in low-income areas. Through a Kresge foundation grant, the SCCLF has implemented a number of initiatives, including building grocery stores in food deserts, awarding grant money to entrepreneurs trying to start businesses increasing access to healthy food, and providing technical assistance to those who are applying for loans relating to food access.  

Boeing Farm-to-School Initiative: A statewide effort that builds and maintains school based gardens in order to connect students with healthy, fresh foods.  The program provides incentives and instruction to teachers, food service workers, and other school personnel tying classroom STEM lessons to working in the garden. Through work with dozens of non-profits and other institutions of higher education, thousands of children across the state now have access to nutritious food. 

Illumination Project: The Illumination project is working to build better community relationships between the Charleston community and the Charleston Police Department.

SCCCMA: The Riley Center manages all professional development and other activities for the South Carolina City and County Management Association (SCCCMA). The Center hosts two conferences annually for roughly 180 city and county managers.

Local Government Leadership Institute: In collaboration with Francis Marion University, Coastal Carolina University and the Lake City Partnership, the Riley Center has developed and is implementing a program to train and develop local government leaders. 

Know2: The Riley Center became involved with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education’s (CHE) Know2 project, developing and administering survey and research tools to gather public perception of higher education in lower income regions. 

Charleston Tri-County Region Housing Blueprint: The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors and the South Carolina Community Loan Fund contacted the Riley Center to develop a "scorecard" type model to specifically look at housing issues in the Tri-County region.  The key issues/questions addressed in the blueprint are:  Density, Cost, Transportation, and Construction.

2015 Report on the Status of Women in SC: Worked with the Center for Women to create a report examining the status of women in SC and the issues that need to be addressed.

Local Government Professional Development: The Riley Center works with a variety of organizations including the Municipal Association of SC, the SC Association of Counties and the SC Clerks to Council Association in planning and facilitating training and professional development for local government officials across the state.

Lowcountry Graduate Center: The Riley Center has conducted a variety of studies for the Lowcountry Graduate Center to determine higher education needs in the tri-county area.