College of Built Environments, University of Washington

The Center for Asian Urbanism is established to promote and undertake interdisciplinary and collaborative research of urban conditions and processes in Asia and the “Global Pacific” – i.e. the relevancies of cities and city-regions in Asia to each other, to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., and to the world at large. Specifically, the Center will integrate research and action-oriented activities in the field to develop new knowledge and inform policy, decision-making, and professional development. It provides a platform locally and internationally for critical discussion of urban issues in Asia and beyond.

Principal Faculty Members

Dan Abramson, Urban Design & Planning
Christine Bae, Urban Design & Planning
Manish Chalana, Urban Design & Planning
Jeff Hou, Landscape Architecture
Ken-Yu Lin, Construction Management
Ken Tadashi Oshima, Architecture
Vikram Prakash, Architecture
Qing Shen, Urban Design & Planning
Ken Yocom, Landscape Architecture

Research Agenda

With fast growing economies and populations as well as evolving urban systems and fabrics, Asian cities today are a frontier of challenges and possibilities for the future of urbanism around the world. From Bangkok to Bangalore, Shanghai to Seoul, and Taipei to Tokyo rapid urban growth presents unprecedented environmental, social, and spatial challenges, even in societies that built some of the earliest megacities in human history. With their especially high densities, long histories, and distinct urban forms and networks, today’s Asian cities also hold a profound promise for innovative solutions to the problems of global urbanization. How can design and planning discourses and practices respond to these promises and challenges? How can interdisciplinary and action-focused research contribute to the ongoing transformation of Asian cities and regions? How can a more critical understanding of Asian cities contribute to the knowledge and practice of urbanism and city making in other regions?

The Center for Asian Urbanism in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington is formed as a research collaborative to address the above questions. In addition, the group is formed to support the proposed new Master of Urban Design program and other academic programs and initiatives already underway in the College. It will serve as a platform to explore the intersection of architecture, construction, landscape architecture, and urban design and planning. It is also the goal of the collaborative to establish the University of Washington as a national and international leader in the field of urban research in Asia. The College, together with other units at UW, including especially the Jackson School of International Studies, the Asian Law Center, and the Foster School of Business’s Global Business Center, currently has one of the strongest concentrations of scholars on Asian cities and urbanization in the United States. Anticipated activities at the Center include:

  • Conduct funded research/design/planning projects.
  • Support publications such as book projects and working paper series.
  • Support and host conferences, workshops, symposia, lectures, and other related events and activities on Asian urbanism.
  • Support study abroad programs, internship, and service-learning projects.
  • Serve as a regional and international center for academic-professional interaction on urban practice in Asia
  • Support existing and proposed programs in the College through courses, thesis and dissertation advising.
  • Attract and support Visiting Scholars from Asia in conducting research related to Asian cities.
  • Quarterly meetings and regular participation in the BE PhD Colloquium.

Contact | urbasia@uw.edu

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