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College of the Environment

News | July 1, 2019

‘Regional climate modeling’ provides clearer picture of climate change impacts in PNW

KNKX weather expert and UW professor of Atmospheric Sciences Cliff Mass has been working with a group of researchers within the Department of Atmospheric Sciences hoping to get a better idea of the impact climate change will have on the Pacific Northwest. The group has been conducting “regional climate modeling.” “Many people know about global…


News | December 12, 2019

‘Blue’ space: Access to water features can boost city dwellers’ mental health

Officials are increasingly recognizing that integrating nature into cities is an effective public health strategy to improve mental health. Doctors around the world now administer “green prescriptions” – where patients are encouraged to spend time in local nature spaces – based on hundreds of studies showing that time in nature can benefit people’s psychological well-being and increase…


News | August 1, 2019

‘Feedback loops’ of methane, CO2 echo environmental problem beyond Washington

One of the interesting features of climate change is the warmer it gets, the warmer it will get. Warming global temperatures are often thought of as a one-way street, originating from the exhaust pipe of a vehicle and ending with an uptick on the thermometer. But the Earth has its own regulating factors at work,…


News | June 17, 2019

2 hours/week in nature: Your prescription for better health?

Spending just a couple of hours a week enjoying nature may do your body and mind some good, a new study suggests. The study, of nearly 20,000 adults in England, found that people who spent at least two hours outdoors in the past week gave higher ratings to their physical health and mental well-being. Most…


News | July 31, 2019

4.6 earthquake shakes Seattle region, no damage reported

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake shook Seattle and the Puget Sound region at 2:51 a.m. Friday, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), rattling some people out of bed, while leaving other people blissfully dormant and unfazed. The earthquake emanated from Three Lakes, Snohomish County, about 9 miles east of downtown Everett. The temblor raises…


News | March 7, 2019

A new laser-toting disaster lab aims to save lives by saving data

Inside a small, rectangular room at the University of Washington is a series of shelves filled with more than 300 high-tech tools. There’s a collection of drones, cameras, and tablets, and even a mobile EEG kit, able to measure a brain’s electrical activity and detect stress levels in disaster victims. Each one has been meticulously…


News | February 13, 2020

A Popular Beach in Tacoma is Being Redesigned Based on Climate Change Projections

Climate change projections of rising sea levels is one reason Tacoma is making major changes to one of its most popular beaches. It is using research from the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group to redesign Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park. Research from UW shows with continued high greenhouse gas emissions, by 2100 the global…


News | May 5, 2020

A timber-based building method draws praise, and skeptics

Last September, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee stepped to a lectern in a sprawling 270,000-square-foot factory outside Spokane and declared it the “best day so far” in his six years in office. Earlier that day, he had marched downtown as part of the youth-driven climate strike that united 4 million people worldwide. Now he was in nearby…


News | June 22, 2020

Air pollution ebbs during the pandemic in Washington state

Kristi Straus, a lecturer in the University of Washington’s College of Environmental Studies program, said reduced traffic and work commutes have likely lowered nitrogen dioxide pollution and improved people’s quality of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Certainly commuting is a big way we spend our time and burn fossil fuels,” she said. “The reduced traffic…


Course | ATM S 212

Air Pollution: From Urban Smog to the Ozone Hole

This course is an introduction to air pollution on local, regional, and global scales. We will focus on the sources, transformation, and dispersion of pollutants responsible for urban smog, acid rain, climate change and the stratospheric ozone hole. We will examine the health and environmental effects of air pollutants, as well as current (or potential) technological solutions and international policy regulations.

Scholar

Alison Duvall

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Amy Snover

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News | August 16, 2018

An Unfair Share: Exploring the disproportionate risks from climate change facing Washington State communities

Everyone in Washington state will be affected by climate change, but race, income and occupation influences how much risk Washington state residents and workers face from climate-related hazards like wildfires, floods and extreme heat. A new report finds that the state’s most vulnerable people are often communities of color, indigenous people and lower-income communities. “Climate…


Course | ENVIR 371, ANTH 371

Anthropology of Development

Development refers to social, economic, cultural, political transformations viewed as progress. Studied from anthropological perspectives. Historical, social context for emergence of ideas of development. Role of development in promoting national cultures. Impact of development on individual citizenship, families, rural-urban relations, workers, business, environment.

Course | ATM S 558

Atmospheric Chemistry

Photochemistry of urban, rural, and marine tropospheric air, and of the natural and perturbed ozone in the middle atmosphere. Unity of the chemistries in these apparently different regimes.

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Brian Collins

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Brian J. Harvey

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News | February 20, 2020

Building Codes for ‘The Really Big One’ in Seattle

Earthquake experts say current building codes don’t reflect the riskiest features of the Seattle area’s geology — but the outlook for survivability looks a lot better if the Really Big One can just hold off for a few more years. The Cascadia subduction zone, centered along a submarine fault just off the West Coast, is…


News | January 9, 2019

Carbon accountability: progress in work to reduce embodied carbon in construction materials

“We acknowledge that we hold this world in trust and recognize the immediate threat climate change and its impacts pose to current and future generations,” reads a statement signed this fall by more than 100 construction-related companies and nonprofits. “We must act urgently and collaboratively to transform the built environment from a leading driver of…


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Clare Ryan

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Cliff Mass

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News | February 6, 2020

Climate Change Modeling can help Plan the Future of Land Conservation

Many of the existing efforts to protect plant and animal species across the United States rely on information about where these species currently live. For example, if a rare bird species such as the snowy plover is found in a specific location along the Washington coast, conservationists try to protect it from human development where…


News | June 17, 2015

Common Birds Bring Economic Vitality to Cities

Is it worth having birds in the city? If you live in Seattle or Berlin, the answer is yes, to the tune of $120 million and $70 million a year for each city, respectively.


News | April 16, 2020

Community science project tracks changes in bird behavior during coronavirus

The predictable, daily routines of humanity have all but stopped with the arrival of COVID-19. For most of us, we no longer head to the office each morning or have friends and family over for dinner in our homes. Our day-to-day activities now look entirely different than they did six weeks ago. But does this…


News | January 23, 2020

Considering wood as a sustainable building material

Architects, builders, and sustainability advocates are all abuzz over a new building material they say could substantially reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the building sector, slash the waste, pollution, and costs associated with construction, and create a more physically, psychologically, and aesthetically healthy built environment. The material is known as, uh, wood. Recently, UW…


Course | SEFS 503

Current Issues in Restoration Ecology and Environmental Horticulture

Critical evaluation and discussion of published research in urban horticulture and restoration. Students and faculty present and discuss research methods and questions from current literature.

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Dan Jaffe

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Daniel Schindler

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Daniel Vogt

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News | September 23, 2019

Data Science for Social Good team analyzes equity of congestion pricing on Interstate 405

A team in the eScience Institute’s Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) program has partnered with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to study the usage patterns, price sensitivities and equity impacts of congestion pricing on Interstate 405. The project utilizes data on the more than 16 million trips taken in the high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes of I-405…


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Dave Montgomery

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David Butman

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News | December 31, 2016

December Recap – TC3, Urban Environmental Justice, Tech, and other Highlights

December concludes a complicated year. The past month has seen a variety of changes, new research, and reflections on life in Seattle, the tech world, urban environmental justice, and our campus. Urban@UW and Climate Impacts Group collaborated on the Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change symposium. Urban@UW published a reflection on the…


News | April 22, 2020

Dose of nature even in your own backyard can help mental health during coronavirus pandemic

Many Washingtonians are spending more time in their homes or apartments due to the stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of coronavirus, which means they may be missing out on their usual weekend hikes and other nature escapes. But University of Washington researchers say you don’t have to go to a remote location to…


News | May 20, 2020

EarthLab announces Innovation Grant recipients for 2020

Research projects funded for 2020 by EarthLab’s Innovation Grants Program will study how vegetation might reduce pollution, help an Alaskan village achieve safety and resilience amid climate change, organize a California river’s restoration with tribal involvement, compare practices in self-managed indigenous immigrant communities and more. EarthLab is a University of Washington-wide institute connecting scholars with community…


Course | ESRM 431 / ENVIR 431 / PSYCH 431

Ecopsychology

Explores psychology of the human relationship with nature. Critically examines how ecopsychology can impact urban sustainability, human health, environmental education, and the design of new technologies. Specific topics include evolutionary psychology; human-animal interaction; biophillia; children and nature; indigenous cultures; and ecotherapy.

Scholar

Ed Lazowska

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Course | ENVIR 221, HSTAA 221

Environmental History of the U.S.

Surveys the relationship between nature and human history, including the impact of the non-human environment on American history and the environmental effects of colonization, urbanization, and consumerism; the cultural construction of nature in different eras and its social implications; the sources and limits of modern environmental politics.

Course | AES 211 / ANTH 211 / ENVIR 211

Environmental Justice

Examines introductory studies of environmental racism and ecological injustice in the United States and select areas of the world. Reviews environmental justice theories and methods applied to risk science, ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development. Includes comparative studies of social movements for "eco-justice."

Course | ENVIR 440

Environmental Pedagogy

Introduces the art of teaching in non-traditional settings. Designed to help students become effective environmental educators such as park naturalists, interpretive guides, or urban garden educators. Students learn pedagogical philosophy and gain stills to become more effective environmental educators.

Course | ENVIR 485 / ESRM 485

Environmental Planning and Permitting in Practice

Advanced survey of environmental planning and permitting as encountered by environmental and natural resource professionals in Washington State and beyond. Focuses on Washington State acts (SEPA, SMA, GMA) and Federal systems (NEPA, CWA ESA) that shape environmental land use planning and federal planning and permitting systems

Degree Program

Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management (BS, minor)

Students studying Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM) learn about natural and human-dominated landscapes and how to apply this knowledge to real-world problems. With a focus on sustainability, students work with professors and regional experts on environmental issues. Fieldwork gives students enhanced opportunities for experiential learning and service in a rich contextual landscape.

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Degree Program

Environmental Studies (BA, minor)

Environmental Studies at the Program on the Environment combines natural sciences, social sciences and humanities to provide students with a deep understanding of how humans interact with and influence the environment. Students learn to think critically, conduct research, apply sustainability frameworks, and communicate to diverse audiences.

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Scholar

Erin Wirth

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Ernesto Alvarado Celestin

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News | April 27, 2016

Examing Urban Inequality, Vulnerability and Risk to Enhance Resilience with Dr. Lankao (5/11)

Dr. Patricia Romero Lankao / May 11th / 5:00-6:30pm / CMU 102 With the coming impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, extreme weather events, and drastic changes in water availability, it can be expected that prosperous, well-governed cities can generally adapt, at least for the next few decades – assuming global efforts at…


News | June 13, 2018

Forest loss in one part of US can harm trees on the opposite coast

Large swaths of U.S. forests are vulnerable to drought, forest fires and disease. Many local impacts of forest loss are well known: drier soils, stronger winds, increased erosion, loss of shade and habitat. But if a whole forest disappears, new research shows, this has ricocheting effects in the atmosphere that can affect vegetation on the…


Scholar

Frank Gonzalez

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Gordon Bradley

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News | June 26, 2015

Group at UW shows how to account for nature’s benefits in decisions

The Natural Capital Project is working to understand how people value nature and the services it provides, to better inform decision makers and promote smarter decisions for both the planet and the economy. The project began from a partnership between Stanford University and the University of Minnesota following the UN’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. The Organization’s…


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Guillaume Mauger

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News | February 27, 2020

Health and Well-Being Linked to Wilderness in Urban Parks

As metropolises balloon with growth and sprawl widens the footprint of cities around the world, access to nature for people living in urban areas is becoming harder to find.If you’re lucky, a pocket park might be installed next to a new condominium complex on your block, or perhaps a green roof tops the building where…


News | March 8, 2017

Honoring Women Collaborators at Urban@UW

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are highlighting just some of UW’s brilliant female professors, scholars, and and change-makers with whom Urban@UW is proud to collaborate. Click on their names to explore their work.   Leadership: Thaisa Way, Executive Director, Urban@UW; Department of Landscape Architecture Executive Committee: Margaret O’Mara, Department of History Susan P….


News | August 12, 2019

How nature can improve your family’s mental health

People who study health outcomes – and any parent with common sense – have long known that having access to a green space is important for health. From decreased asthma and obesity to increased immunities and quality sleep, exposure to the outdoors is good for everyone. But a large, growing body of evidence, captured in a new meta-study, reveals that experiences in nature have especially…


News | August 1, 2019

How to consider nature’s impact on mental health in city plans

Almost one in five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness. That statistic is similar worldwide, with an estimated 450 million people currently dealing with a mental or neurological disorder. Of those, only about a third seek treatment. Interacting with nature is starting to be recognized as one way to improve mental health. A number of scientific…


Scholar

Iain Robertson

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Ian Miller

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News | January 8, 2020

Is Seattle really the gloomiest city in America? Psychological data debunk finding

A recent study named Seattle the No. 1 “gloomiest place in America.” The website Bestplaces.net, which ranks locations on all kinds of qualities, created a “gloom index” for the largest cities in the nation, based on weather data during the darkest months of the year. The index ranked the cities by looking at percentage of cloud cover,…


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Jan Newton

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Jeffery Cordell

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Jen Davison

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Joe Casola

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John Marzluff

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John Vidale

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Joshua Lawler

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News | February 22, 2017

Julian Agyeman: A Brief Reading List

Julian Agyeman, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, will be delivering a talk at the University of Washington on February 28 at 7:30pm. Agyeman was originally trained as an ecologist and biogeographer before turning to critical urban studies and environmental social science. Agyeman’s scholarship challenges basic notions of sustainability through…


Scholar

Julian Olden

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Course | ESRM 480

Landscape Plant Science and Sustainable Management

Principles and practices of plant management in urban and modified landscapes. Physiological basis for plant management and selection; site analysis and preparation; plant installation and aftercare; plant performance evaluation; long-term sustainable management and plant health care.

News | September 2, 2016

Landscaping for Drought Could Make Warm Nights Cooler

As drought-stricken residents of Los Angeles’s hottest neighborhoods replace thirsty lawns with native plants, pavers and bare soil, new research has shown how their local climates could begin tipping back in the direction of their desert-like origins. Nighttime lows help people recover daily even as heat waves persist. In a region beset this year by…


News | November 14, 2019

Latest science shows how the ‘biggest one’ will unfold in the Northwest

The shaking from a magnitude 9-plus earthquake felt in western Washington’s population centers will vary depending on the epicenter of the quake. “Where the earthquake starts really matters,” said Erin Wirth, an affiliate assistant professor of Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) and a research geophysicist  for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) based at the University of…


News | July 18, 2019

Lessons from California earthquakes: What Seattle should know about ‘basin effects’

Ridgecrest, California was hit with a magnitude 6.4 earthquake on the morning of July 4, followed by a magnitude 7.1 quake in the same area on July 5. Despite being 125 miles from the epicenter, people in Los Angeles felt long-lasting shaking. This is because of something called “basin effects” — and Seattle should take…


News | February 27, 2020

Links Between Weather in Seattle and Bali

Seattle, along with the rest of the U.S. West Coast, has seen a decrease in rainfall between 1981-2018. UW scientists think a phenomenon called the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) might be to blame. A stormy disturbance that occurs several times a year in the tropics, the MJO is similar to the El Nino Southern Oscillation, which…


Scholar

Lisa Graumlich

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LuAnne Thompson

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News | August 29, 2019

Mental health benefits of nature should influence city planning, says UW study

City planners should consider the mental health benefits of green spaces when making plans for the future of their cities. That’s according to a new study out of University of Washington that says urban green spaces can help improve mental health. The study found that accounting for the economic impacts of these benefits might help cities prioritize…


News | August 1, 2016

Midsummer in Full Swing, A July Recap

While we are in the midst of a beautiful summer, things at the University of Washington and at Urban@UW are moving right along. We’ve seen some original writing, research, and even a podcast come out of community covering topics from marine noise pollution to data science and minimum wage to police reforms. The eScience Institute…


Scholar

Miles Logsdon

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Monika Moskal

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News | January 31, 2016

Monthly Wrap up January 2016

It’s been a great start to 2016. UW Alumni association and History Department put together a woderful history lecture series: Excavating Seattle’s histories: Peoples, politics, and place check out details and videos here> The CBE also hosted a number of great speakers and events including SUSTAINING JAPAN: 3.11 FIVE YEARS ON lecture and panel discussion…


News | May 26, 2017

New Seattle seawall aims to improve waterfront salmon habitat

Seattle’s new $410 million downtown waterfront is also acting as a huge science experiment.If you walk the area from Colman Dock to the Seattle Aquarium, you’d notice glass panels lining the sidewalk.“I thought it was just something to make the pier pretty,” said Emily Fuller, who visiting Seattle with her family. The panels actually form…


News | July 14, 2016

New Tech Could Restore Some Quiet To Noisy Oceans

Forty feet below the surface of Puget Sound, a marbled murrelet dives for its catch. The water is cold, dark — and incredibly noisy. A ping-ping-ping emanates from the shore over second-long intervals and continues on for the next several hours, sending a series of pressure waves through the ocean. For the endangered bird, these…


News | January 5, 2017

New wood technology may offer hope for struggling timber

John Redfield watches with pride as his son moves a laser-guided precision saw the size of a semi-truck wheel into place over a massive panel of wood. Redfield’s fingers are scarred from a lifetime of cutting wood and now, after decades of decline in the logging business, he has new hope that his son, too,…


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Nives Dolšak

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News | April 23, 2016

Office Hours With John Vidale, UW Seismologist

John Vidale is a professor at the University of Washington in the Earth & Space Sciences Department specializing in seismology, particularly around the Cascadia Fault Zone and while there’s been a lot of talk (read: worry and fear) about the Cascadia Subduction Zone this geologist isn’t panicking. John talks to us about the problem of…


News | September 5, 2019

Over 4,100 earthquakes strike west of Puget Sound, but you can’t feel them

West of Puget Sound, the ground is trembling — but even if you live over there, you probably wouldn’t know it. An episodic tremor and slip (ETS) event appears to be underway, according to scientists at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. ETS tends to happen once every 14 months or so, when the Cascadia subduction zone gets a…


News | April 3, 2020

Pacific Northwest may see temporary drop in emissions due to social distancing

A small silver lining of coronavirus social distancing measures is we are likely experiencing a temporary drop in emissions, experts say. NASA satellite images show significant drops in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air above China after lockdowns went into effect. Similar satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows reductions in Italy, which is also keeping people…


Scholar

Patrick Christie

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Penelope Dalton

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News | September 19, 2017

People of color exposed to more pollution from cars, trucks, power plants during 10-year period

A new nationwide study finds that the U.S. has made little progress from 2000 to 2010 in reducing relative disparities between people of color and whites in exposure to harmful air pollution emitted by cars, trucks and other combustion sources. The groundbreaking study led by University of Washington Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Julian…


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Peter Kahn

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Course | ESRM 411

Plant Propagation: Principles and Practice

Science and practice of plant propagation including sexual (seed) and asexual (cutting, layering, grafting) propagation. Includes discussion of physiological effects, methodology and laboratory exercises. Wide variety of plants covered. Intended for majors in urban horticulture and urban forestry and others interested in reproducing landscape plants.

Course | SEFS 561

Public Presentation in Urban Horticulture

Students learn to make public presentations in scientific, professional, and popular contexts and to interpret technical information for professional and lay audiences. Support materials, such as audiovisuals and graphics are discussed.

News | May 4, 2016

Quick Recap: A Busy April!

April saw a lot of wonderful developments here at the University of Washington, here’s a quick recap: Our first Office Hours interview with John Vidale (more coming of these soon!) UW researchers continued to explore the effects of a $15/hr minimum wage. PBS premiered their 10 Parks that Changed America program featuring our own Thaisa…


News | May 7, 2016

Reading List for Patricia Romero Lankao Visit 5/11

In anticipation of Patricia Romero Lankao’s visit we thought you might enjoy these pieces to get a feel for her research and thinking. Water in Mexico City: What Will Climate Change Bring to Its History of Water-Related Hazards and Vulnerabilities?—This research paper delves into the history and evolution of water related risks and crises in…


News | December 20, 2016

Reflections on Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change

On November 7th and 8th Urban@UW, in collaboration with the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group (CIG), hosted a symposium to begin transdisciplinary conversation on the multifaceted dynamics and consequences of Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change (UEJ). Below are some reflections from this event, and a sample of the resources we’ll…


News | January 8, 2016

Research Spotlight: An Octopus’ Garden in the Urban Underwater Environment

Eliza is a Ph.D. candidate in the UW Department of Biology and a graduate fellow in the IGERT Program on Ocean Change. She studies urban marine ecosystems under the guidance of Dr. Ken Sebens. If you like what you read below, check out her blog at www.urbanmarineecology.org. In 1955, Columbia Pictures released the thriller It…


Course | ESRM 479

Restoration Design

Covers the design process in ecosystem restoration by presenting a series of weekly design problems that students solve as teams. Categorizes problems by disturbance type, including restoration necessitated by agriculture, urbanization, salt-marsh filling or diking, construction of transport corridors, etc. Includes a team design portfolio.

Scholar

Richard Keil

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News | February 3, 2016

Risk of lead poisoning from urban gardening is low, new study finds

Using compost is the single best thing you can do to protect your family from any danger associated with lead in urban soils. Good compost will also guarantee that you will have plenty of vegetables to harvest. That’s the main finding of a paper appearing this month in the Journal of Environmental Quality. The University…


News | June 24, 2019

Seattle upgrades A/C at some community centers ahead of predicted wildfires

It wasn’t a picture postcard August last year in Seattle. Seattle icons, the Space Needle, ferries crossing the water, the Great Wheel spinning colorfully on the waterfront were barely visible because of smoke from Canadian wildfires. The Emerald City saw 24 days of moderately unhealthy levels of particulates in the air during the summer because…


News | August 28, 2019

Seismic ‘slow-slip’ event happening now, but will it increase the chance of an earthquake?

Seismologists are monitoring a seismic event that they say is happening right now. It’s called a “slow-slip” event. According to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, this event happens about every 14 months. PNSN has been tracking it for about two decades, ever since the Nisqually earthquake. Think of Earth as…


News | May 21, 2016

Seismic Neglect: Buildings and Earthquakes

Seismic Neglect | In the first part of a continuing series, The Seattle Times examined officials’ neglect of the most vulnerable kind of building: old, brick structures called unreinforced masonry. Here are answers to some common questions about those buildings. The Northwest is threatened by earthquakes far more destructive than anything Washington state has experienced…


News | September 29, 2016

September Recap – News, Big Data, and Monthly Hightlights

September is nearly gone, but this was not a very sleepy month. The University of Washington has started the new school year and the past month has seen some tremendous developments for urban thinking and the City of Seattle. KQED published a piece about urban heat islands and how changes in landcover from hard-scapes and…


News | July 11, 2019

Smoke from Alaska fires has reached the Northwest

Seattle is experiencing smoke from an estimated 120 wildfires burning in interior and south-central Alaska, as the 49th State goes through a late spring-early summer heat wave, according to University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor Cliff Mass. “Although there are no wildfires in the Pacific Northwest right now, there are many large fires burning over Alaska producing lots…


Course | ESRM 200

Society and Sustainable Environments

Introduces the application of social concepts and theories to understanding and managing urban, urbanizing and wildland landscapes in a sustainable manner. Of particular interest are factors that shape patterns on the landscape and resulting social and economic benefits. Explores landscapes across the urban to wildland gradient.

Course | ESRM 311

Soils and Land Use

Intended for students concerned with environmental problems in the Puget Sound basin; also for those who intend to become professionally involved in land-planning decisions. Focus is on the significance of soils in understanding environmental problems and in promoting intelligent land-use decisions. Basic concepts of soil systems are presented, stressing those aspects important in making land-planning decisions.

News | January 5, 2017

Songbirds divorce, flee, fail to reproduce due to suburban sprawl

Suburban development is forcing some songbirds to divorce, pack up and leave and miss their best chances for successful reproduction. As forested areas increasingly are converted to suburbs, birds that live on the edge of our urban footprint must find new places to build their nests, breed and raise fledglings. New research published Dec. 28…


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Soo-Hyung Kim

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Stephen M. Gardiner

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Stevan Harrell

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Steven Walters

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News | April 7, 2020

Study synthesizes what climate change means for Northwest wildfires

Recent years have brought unusually large and damaging wildfires to the Pacific Northwest – from the Carlton Complex Fire in 2014 that was the largest in Washington’s history, to the 2017 fire season in Oregon, to the 2018 Maple Fire, when normally sodden rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula were ablaze. Many people have wondered what this means for our…


Scholar

Susan M. Bolton

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Course | ENVIR 415 / CEE 495 / ME 415

Sustainability and Design for Environment

Analysis and design of technology systems within the context of the environment, economy, and society. Applies the concepts of resource conservation, pollution prevention, life cycle assessment, and extended product responsibility. Examines the practice, opportunities, and role of engineering, management, and public policy.

Course | ESRM 201

Sustaining Pacific Northwest Ecosystems

Introduces the principles of ecology across an urban to wildland gradient and discusses how these landscapes can be sustainably managed. Explores basic ecological theories, plant communities, soil, climate, pollution, hydrology, and wildlife in classroom, labs, and field trips

News | September 26, 2019

Tall buildings out of timber? In the face of climate change, Seattle encourages it

The loggers who worked in Ballard when it was Shingletown, a center of the national timber industry, are long gone. And only a few wooden landmarks of the timber heyday, mostly churches, still exist on Ballard’s low-slung skyline. But as concerns over climate change give new life to wooden building design, that could change. In the…


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Terrie Klinger

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News | October 24, 2019

The potential of green urban planning for mental health

Neighborhood architects, engineers, and policymakers look at all kinds of factors and needs when building a city, including transportation links, housing, aesthetics, amenities, and so forth. Natural spaces are also considered, for their aesthetic, recreational, and ecological benefits. A study published in July in Science Advances outlines a model that will let policymakers see nature’s impacts on…


Course | ENVIR 240

The Urban Farm

Develops students' understanding the ecological connections between food production, human health, and planetary sustainability. Teaches basic skills needed for food production in urban areas and the ethics behind sustainable urban agriculture, including a hands-on component on the farm at the biology greenhouse.

News | July 8, 2019

This kayaking researcher is learning the secrets of Seattle’s urban salmon

Salmon researcher Kerry Accola is standing on the docks at Seattle’s Bell Harbor Marina on the edge of Elliott Bay. “There’s salmon right there. You can see them,” she says, gesturing toward a nearshore abyss. The setting sun reflects off the water’s surface, making it difficult to see anything more than bits of trash. But Accola…


Scholar

Tom DeLuca

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News | August 1, 2019

Trees an oasis of mental well-being

City dwellers who live on tree-lined streets might be happier and healthier for it, a large new study suggests. The study, of nearly 47,000 urban residents, found that those who lived in areas shaded by tree canopy reported less psychological distress and better general health over six years. Green grass, on the other hand, didn’t…


News | April 22, 2019

Urban coyote evolution favors the bold

Coyotes become fearless around people in just a few generations—which isn’t good for their longterm co-existence with humans in cities. Coyotes are now common residents of many large urban areas. And while it doesn’t happen all that often, coyotes are increasingly coming into conflict with people and pets. “They’re these mid-sized carnivores, [though] most people…


Course | ESRM 471

Urban Forest Landscapes

Comprehensive view of urban forest and urban forest landscapes. Includes close examination of factors that differentiate urban forest landscapes along the urban to wildland gradient. Compare legal, social, political, administrative, physical, and biological variations.

Course | SEFS 549

Urban Horticulture Seminar

Discussion by invited speakers on current topics in urban horticulture

Course | ESRM 451

Urban Plant Protection

Working knowledge on insects and diseases of plants growing in the urban environment. Emphasis placed on pest and damage recognition, control methods, and integrated pest management systems.

News | April 20, 2017

USGS, partners launch a unified, West Coast-wide earthquake early warning system

The U.S. Geological Survey and university, public and private partners held an event April 10 at the University of Washington to introduce the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning program as a unified, West Coast-wide system. The event also introduced the first pilot uses of the earthquake early warning in Washington and Oregon. The first Pacific Northwest…


News | August 16, 2017

UW gets federal money to boost early-warning system for West Coast earthquakes

The U.S. Geological Survey has awarded $4.9 million to six universities and a nonprofit to help advance an early-warning system for earthquakes along the West Coast. The federal agency says the ShakeAlert system could give people seconds or up to a minute of warning before strong shaking begins. The University of Washington, Central Washington University…


News | April 8, 2019

UW study on methane emissions offers clues to Cascadia Subduction Zone

A University of Washington study that mapped methane gas emissions off the Washington coast provides new clues as to how the Cascadia Subduction Zone works. The study, which was published last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, documented 1,778 methane bubble plumes grouped in 491 clusters off the Washington coast. The presence of…


News | April 10, 2019

UW wins top team, individual prizes in national forecasting contest, now enters tournament round

The University of Washington has won a national competition in which colleges vie to deliver the most accurate daily forecast for cities across the country. A UW student also developed a machine-learning model that for the first time delivered a more accurate forecast than any human competitor. In results announced this week, the UW team…


News | January 5, 2017

UW-led study shows new global evidence of the role of humans, urbanization in rapid evolution

It has long been suspected that humans and the urban areas we create are having an important — and surprisingly current and ongoing — effect on evolution, which may have significant implications for the sustainability of global ecosystems. A new multi-institution study led by the University of Washington that examines 1,600 global instances of phenotypic…


News | February 24, 2020

Washington State Agency Climate Change Plan Includes Land Use Changes

Saying her agency was “on the front lines of climate change,” Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz this week outlined the Department of Natural Resources’ plan to mitigate climate change and prepare for a warmer future. The department published its “Plan for Climate Resilience” this week in a 96-page document long on ambition but short on…


News | November 28, 2017

What if a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit Seattle?

In preparation for the BIG ONE — the mighty 9.0-magnitude earthquake that’s expected to lay waste to the Pacific Northwest — geophysicists have created 50 virtual simulations to see how such a quake could rattle the region. The simulations don’t paint a pretty picture for Seattle or the coastal areas of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia…


News | December 7, 2018

What if Alaska’s earthquake happened here?

Last Friday, a 7.0 earthquake rattled Anchorage, Alaska. Amazingly, no one died — and revamped building codes enacted in the wake of the state’s deadly 1964 Good Friday quake meant the city was more prepared than most. Outside of a few structure fires, damage was kept to a minimum. But striking images of tectonic apocalypse…


Course | ESRM 420

Wildland Fire Management

Principles of wildland fire behavior, ecology, and management. Weather, fuels, and topography effects on fire behavior. Forest structure influence on historical and current fire ecology. Principles of firesafe forests. Management issues of fire control and use in wilderness, multiple-use forest, and the wildland-urban interface.

News | November 25, 2019

With mic and spade, this researcher-turned-podcaster is helping restore Seattle’s Indigenous landscape

When Jessica Hernandez arrived in Seattle five years ago to begin her master’s degree program at the University of Washington, everything suddenly felt out of place. She was born to Indigenous parents who had immigrated from Central American and Oaxaca, Mexico, and grew up in Los Angeles, going to schools that taught classes in Spanish…


News | June 18, 2019

World’s population could swell to 10.9 billion by 2100, U.N. report finds

The world’s population could swell to 10.9 billion by the end of the century, a new United Nations analysis found, raising concerns that adding more than 3 billion people to the planet could further deplete natural resources and accelerate global warming. The increase, up from the current count of 7.7 billion people, is expected despite a continued…


News | March 31, 2020

WWII-era ‘victory gardens’ make a comeback amid coronavirus

For Washington’s hobby gardeners, late winter and early spring are often times to dream of summer blooms and yards. But with a pandemic poised to kill more Americans than have died in world wars, some are repurposing their personal plots into a new generation of victory gardens — symbols of self-reliance, food production and community resilience not seen since wartime. While…