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College of the Environment

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…


Course | ATM S 212

Air Pollution: From Urban Smog to the Ozone Hole


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.

Scholar

Brian Collins

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Brian J. Harvey

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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…


Scholar

Clare Ryan

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Cliff Mass

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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.


Scholar

Dan Jaffe

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Daniel Schindler

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Daniel Vogt

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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…


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.

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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Scholar

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…


Scholar

Guillaume Mauger

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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….


Scholar

Iain Robertson

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Ian Miller

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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…


Scholar

Lisa Graumlich

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LuAnne Thompson

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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,…


Scholar

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…


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…


Scholar

Peter Kahn

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Course | CFR 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 | 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…


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.

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…


Scholar

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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Susan M. Bolton

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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

Scholar

Terrie Klinger

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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.

Scholar

Tom DeLuca

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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 | CFR 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 | 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…