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Annual Letter, Fall 2019

The Launch of a Leading-Edge Collaborative Research Center: Urban@UW

Urban@UW launched in 2015 as an initiative of the Office of Research and CoMotion, funded through the Provost. We convened our first meeting of faculty to discuss urban challenges that same spring on June 1, a conversation that surfaced key themes that Urban@UW would go on to address. We had momentum even at the starting gate.

Diverse Partnerships, Broad Impact

Over the past 4 years, Urban@UW has catalyzed, led, supported and/or amplified research, teaching and practice from around the university and across the region, nation and world. From smart-to-wise cities, to homelessness and housing affordability, to environmental justice and beyond, our policy has been to ask not what disciplines have traditionally been involved, but who has something to offer. Read our 4-year report detailing these partnerships, and hear from some of our collaborators about the impact we’ve had.

Moving Forward: Urban@UW in Academic Year 2019-2020

As the program enters its 5th year, Urban@UW is poised for a new chapter. Founding Executive Director Thaisa Way is stepping aside to allow for new leadership, and the program will undertake a concerted strategic planning effort to determine the most exciting and impactful next steps. Additionally, Urban@UW is pleased to share that we are entering a partnership with the College of Built Environments. Working with dean Renee Cheng, associate dean of research Carrie Dossick, and our Executive Committee, Fellows, Affiliates and partners, we are excited to explore how our legacy of faculty-driven, partner-forward, impact-oriented research can expand through CBE support and collaboration, while maintaining critical relationships with our founding unit, the Office of Research under the Provost.

What does this mean for academic year 2019-2020? In the short term, we are actively nurturing our existing initiatives and welcoming new opportunities to partner. As we undertake strategic planning we will be excited to involve partners on and off campus to collectively envision what is next for our nimble and powerful program. Urban@UW has proven that cross-disciplinary and cross-sector partnerships are the key to innovative and durable solutions for cities to thrive. And we are just getting started.