Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension

All great cities want to grow their economies, steward their environment, improve the health and safety of their citizens and insure that governments and non-profits create sound and equitable policies.

WSU’s Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension (Metro Center), puts ‘the people’s university’ to work for Washington’s cities, bringing world class expertise to help inform data driven decisions and implement change that works. Utilizing applied research, the Metro Center’s work is outcome driven and solution oriented, geared toward developing practical knowledge and place-based solutions to alleviate modern world problems.

Headquartered at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett, and with over 30 years of collective experience working with the complex socio-political landscape of the Puget Sound region, Metro Center staff serve as the conduit between metropolitan decision makers and WSU faculty expertise across the state. This project-based and client-centered approach gives the Metro Center flexibility to respond quickly to emerging metropolitan needs, and help build capacity to create sustainable solutions for the future.

Contact Us

WSU North Puget Sound at Everett
2000 Tower Street – MS45
Everett, WA 98201 (MAP)

WSU Seattle Office
901 5th Avenue, Ste 2900
Seattle, WA 98164 (MAP)

Center Director

Brad Gaolach
(425) 405-1734

News & Announcements

Mapping America’s Intractable Homelessness Problem

America has an enduring homelessness problem, with incredible human and economic costs. When they’re acknowledged, homeless people are routinely shunned and criminalized, and often considered less than human. But even folks who want to help often find it hard to wrap their heads around the complex issue. Continue reading about the new data project on mapping homelessness.

Washington State Magazine: Call it the Urban Extension

The massive Oso landslide killed 43 people, caused extensive flooding, and destroyed a key highway north of Everett in 2014, pushing the communities of Arlington and Darrington to their breaking point. Working in partnership with the two municipalities, the Economic Alliance Snohomish County and numerous local partners, the Metro Center has steadily guided the communities in their quest for sustainable economic prosperity.
Printer friendly version: Call it the Urban Extension


Big House Big Business – A spotlight on the US Prison System

This spotlight on the US prison system first delves into the statistics of mass incarceration and the rise of the United States’ private prison system. Next, an article showcases a Las Vegas-based startup company named Pigeonly that helps inmates stay in contact with friends and family. Lastly, a spotlight article written by the Metro Center’s Community Sustainability Specialist, Antony Gromko, on reducing recidivism.
Visit Conscious Company’s Website: Conscious Company Media

Additional Services

STEM Mentor Training

Inspire the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) professionals by becoming a confident mentor. Offered online at no charge through WSU’s Global Campus, STEM Mentor Training allows you to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.



Poverty Immersion

The Poverty Immersion is an interactive workshop that changes attitudes and challenges stereotypes about the working poor – paving a pathway toward professional growth and organizational transformation. Although it uses play money and fictional scenarios, the Poverty Immersion is a role play – not a game. It is a powerful experience that takes only three hours but makes a lasting impact. What you learn about poverty may surprise you.


Business Support Ecosystem Services
Washington State University’s (WSU) Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension (Metro Center) has developed a suite of community economic development services for local communities around the Puget Sound region. Our services strengthen a community entrepreneurial ecosystem by achieving the following: Applying entrepreneurial thinking; supporting existing business owners with financial empowerment; building the capacity of community stakeholders to support their businesses.

Recent Projects