Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Urban Design & Planning

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The Institute is dedicated to exploring ways to integrate hazards mitigation principles into a wide range of crisis, disaster, and risk management opportunities. Its mission is to build a resource center that will enhance risk reduction activities through research and analysis of hazards, policies related to mitigation and through outreach to the community. The Institute provides expertise in disaster preparedness, response and recovery with a special emphasis on mitigation and planning in the promotion of community sustainability.

The Institute is interdisciplinary in focus and structure, and the capabilities of the Institute are enhanced by its close relationship with other academic and research organizations. This incorporates collaboration with several other disciplines within the University of Washington including: Civil Engineering, Geology, Geography, Marine Affairs, Public Affairs, Public Health, and Sociology.

In addition, the Institute has developed partnerships with other organizations so that a broad spectrum of risk reduction activities are available. These organizations include: Local, State and Federal governments; Other universities; Consulting firms.

The College of Architecture and Urban Planning is currently launching new areas of specialization in environmental planning, land use/infrastructure planning and real estate development. Hazards mitigation is a track within the environmental planning specialization. Courses and expertise are available through the College and through distance learning programs.

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The mission of the Center is to enhance the livability of communities in the Pacific Northwest through applied research and outreach in the areas of land use planning, policy, and design; healthy communities; food security; and public participation and democracy.

The Center is a research and policy center focused on issues of environmental and economic sustainability, quality of life, and responsible governance using Washington as a model. The Center operates from the belief that the university should, in cooperation with state agencies, local governments, and community leaders, seek to improve existing social and environmental conditions through research and innovative policy development. It advocates development strategies that focus on: smart and efficient land use, strong communities, high-wage, low waste jobs and economic development, and public participation and accountability in government.

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The Center is a service organization, charged with developing a leading real estate program that can help advance the industry and produce students who can launch, or maintain, successful careers. A cornerstone gift from Judy and Jon Runstad created the Center in 2001 within the College of Built Environments, providing a permanent focus to the intellectual and research interests in real estate at the University of Washington.

The Runstad Center is the focal point for our research activities, providing the catalyst that helps us establish our research agenda, marshal the resources to carry out our research projects, and disseminate our results. We take on a variety of research projects, with a focus on major issues, challenges and opportunities the industry faces. Although we use operating capital and funded research to support our operations, we are committed to objective research that approaches issues from an academically rigorous, unbiased perspective.

The unique nature of real estate relative to other financial assets makes access to the multiple academic and research resources within an internationally prominent public research university critical to the success of the Center. By being located within the College of Built Environments, which houses programs in Design, Planning, and Construction, the Center is uniquely positioned to attract students and produce research focused on real estate as a physical, place-bound resource increasingly influenced by complex capital markets and public regulation. Helping define and shape the future of cities throughout the Northwest is a primary opportunity for faculty and students alike.

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The Urban Ecology Research Laboratory (UERL) is directed by Professor Marina Alberti, and includes interdisciplinary PhD students, post-doctoral research associates, research scientists, and affiliate faculty from diverse disciplines who collaborate to study coupled natural and human systems.

Studying Cities as Ecosystems As part of the University of Washington's innovative leadership in urban ecology research and education, the UERL transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries to address some of society's most challenging problems. Our research interests include: complexity and resilience in coupled natural and human systems, urban landscape patterns and ecosystem function, urban ecosystem management, modeling land cover change, adaptation and scenario planning.

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The Urban Form Lab (UFL), within the University of Washington (UW) College of Architecture and Urban Planning, is directed by Anne Vernez Moudon, Dr. es Sc., a leading researcher and educator in quantifying the properties of the built environment as related to health and transportation behaviors. UFL research aims to affect policy and to support approaches to the design and planning of more livable environments. The UFL specializes in geospatial analyses of the built environment using multiple micro-scale data in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Current research includes the development of novel GIS routines for performing spatial inventories and analyses of the built environment, and of spatially explicit sampling techniques. Projects address such topics as land monitoring, neighborhood and street design, active transportation, non-motorized transportation safety, physical activity, and access to food environments. The research has been supported by the U.S. and Washington State Departments of Transportation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and local agencies.

The UFL research group includes one Research Associate, two Research Scientists, and three Doctoral Students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Program for the Ph.D. in Urban Design and Planning.

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