The 2014 Annual Ph.D. Symposium:
The Centrality of Urban in the Anthropocene: Implications for Graduate Research and Education

presented by the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington
co-sponsored by the eScience Institute


During this year’s PhD Annual Symposium, we will be exploring the impact of the emerging urban centrality in research and academia.

Please RSVP!

Tuesday, May 6th, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Center for Urban Horticulture, NHS Hall

Proposed Schedule

10:00 AM    Dr. Geoffrey West, keynote speaker
11:00 AM    Panel Discussion: Centrality of Urban: Challenges and Opportunities
12:00 Noon    Lunch and Poster Session
1:00 PM    Dr. Henrik Ernstson, keynote speaker
2:00 PM   Panel Discussion: Centrality of Urban: Implications for Graduate Education and Research
3:00 PM   Synthesis & Proposals

Related Reading

From Geoffrey West:
Bettencourt et al 2010
Bettencourt et al 2007
West, Chapter 2
Bettencourt & West Nature article

From Henrik Ernstson:
Ernstson et al 2014
Ernstson et al 2013
Lawhon et al 2014


The study of cities is gaining a new centrality. Planetary-scale changes pose inevitably new challenges to understand complex interactions among ecological, socio-economic, and political processes that govern urban development. A very diverse and complex landscape of disciplinary studies ranging from ecology to public health, sociology and political science is shifting the focus of a significant component of their inquiry towards the "urban". The emerging urban centrality gives "urban studies" a new responsibility and offers our field a unique opportunity for leading a long term interdisciplinary research agenda, transforming modes of inquiry, and reconfiguring educational settings.

Geoffrey West is Distinguished Professor and former President of the Santa Fe Institute. He has a BA from Cambridge and PhD in physics from Stanford, where he was on the faculty. West's interests are in fundamental questions ranging from elementary particles and universal scaling laws in biology to developing a science of cities, companies and global sustainability. His research includes metabolism, growth, aging & death, cancer, ecosystems, innovation, and the accelerating pace of life. He has received many awards and been featured across the media. His work was selected as a breakthrough idea by Harvard Business Review in 2007 and for Time's 2006 list of "100 Most Influential People in the World."

Henrik Ernstson's background lies in system ecology (PhD) and applied physics (MA), but he has developed a core interest in urban political ecology and social movement studies. He is currently Stig Hagstrom scholar at Department of History, Stanford University and was previously at the Stockholm Resilience Center. He is PI of two research projects that combines ethnographic, critical and social network studies around ways of knowing urban ecologies and socioecological movements in Cape Town, New Orleans and Stockholm. Recently he published on urban ecology and African/postcolonial urbanism in Antipode and Regional Studies and leads an book project with studies from Lagos, Rio, Delhi, Yixing (China), San Francisco and Berlin.