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UW Tacoma

Course | T GIS 414

Advanced Applications of GIS

Applies GIS techniques through case studies of social, economic, and environmental issues in the Puget Sound region. Introduces new techniques in basic programming for GIS, using ArcGIS ModelBuilder, and the advanced use of GPS devices.

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Alexes Harris

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Ali Modarres

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Anaid Yerena

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Anne Taufen

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News | June 22, 2021

Another smoky summer could be on Washington’s horizon

Record-breaking rainfall drenched Seattle and Olympia on Sunday. Even with the wet weather and snowpack in the Cascades about 40% deeper than normal for this time of year, western Washington could be in for a smoky summer from forest fires. Much of eastern Washington and most of the western United States are experiencing severe droughts,…


Course | TIBCIN 452

Art, Culture, and History of the Eternal City

Uses Rome as a laboratory to understand the role of art, history, and urbanism in the development of Western culture. Addresses the many facets of the cultural development of Rome and Italy, including geography, history, urban design, art, and architecture. Research-based and includes extensive fieldwork.

Course | T HIST 452

Art, Culture, And History Of The Eternal City

Uses Rome as a laboratory to understand the role of art, history, and urbanism in the development of Western culture. Addresses the many facets of the cultural development of Rome and Italy, including geography, history, urban design, art, and architecture. Research-based and includes extensive fieldwork.

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Barbara Endicott-Popovsky

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News | April 20, 2017

Bellevue, Renton Among Top 100 U.S Cities for Livability

​Watch as King 5 News brings in Branden Born to shed light on the weighting mechanisms employed by a survey recently published on livability.com which ranked Renton and Bellevue among their top 100 cities for livability. Watch the whole clip on iQmediacorp.com


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Benjamin de Haan

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Betheny Gross

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Brian Coffey

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Britta Ricker

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News | August 7, 2019

Can tiny houses help solve affordability crisis? A student who’s building one thinks so

Olivia Tyrnauer adjusts the ladder and carefully begins to climb, balancing on the steps as she carries a large window up to an empty frame. Positioned precariously on one of the top steps, she loops a screw gun out of her belt and pulls a screw from one of the pockets of her tan cargo…


News | April 11, 2017

Challenging the whiteness of American architecture, in the 1960s and today

“This book tells the story of how I got a free Ivy League education.” That’s the arresting opening sentence of Sharon Egretta Sutton‘s “When Ivory Towers Were Black,” an unusual hybrid of memoir, institutional history and broadside against the entrenched whiteness of the architecture profession in this country. The institution in question is Columbia University…


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Christine Stevens

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Christopher Beasley

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Christopher Dunagan

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Course | T URB 316

Cities and Citizenship

Addresses inequality in urban spaces through the concept of citizenship and ideas about rights to the city. While the course is traditional in its concern with urban poverty, race, ethnicity, and immigration, it offers a vocabulary of citizenship and rights to investigate urban inequalities and how various populations experience them.

Course | T URB 420

Cities and the Constitution

Examines Constitutional rights to freedom of expression in public institutions and public places of cities. Considers rights to freedom of expression as they exist in a variety of forums -- streets and parks, schools, shopping malls, university sporting events, and property surrounding prisons. Analyzes interactions among rights and community interests.

News | June 9, 2020

Cities have changed – for rats

After Chicago’s stores and restaurants shut down in March, Rebecca Fyffe, the director of research at a pest-control company, went on one of her usual evening “rat safaris.” Her employer, Landmark Pest Management, services many of the city’s high-end, Michelin-rated restaurants, which had been forced to close hastily, dumping piles of produce. Beside a dumpster…


News | March 23, 2018

City of Bellevue selected as 2018-2019 UW Livable City Year partner

The University of Washington Livable City Year program has selected the City of Bellevue to be the community partner for the 2018-2019 academic year. The year-long partnership connects city staff with students and faculty who will collaborate on projects to advance the Bellevue City Council Vision Priorities, specifically around livability and sustainability. In the upcoming…


Course | T URB 330

City Worlds

Examines world urbanization and the shifting geographies associated with economic restructuring and globalization. Ethnicity, gender, urban form, local governance strategies, and resistance to those strategies are considered. Includes examples from cities in both the developed and developing world.

Course | T URB 326

Climate Change within the Urban Context

Provides an understanding of the nexus of urbanization and climate change. Covers international standards, the urban carbon footprint, and mitigation strategies such as urban forests, urban agriculture, green buildings, and sustainable transportation. Also considers justice and climate change adaptation.

Course | T URB 235

Community Development

Examines theories, polices, and practice of community change and development in American cities. Explores ways to assess community conditions, the contributions of various community institutions, impacts of regional, national, and global political economies, community-oriented development strategies, and methods to evaluate community development initiatives.

Course | T URB 470

Creating The Urban Narrative

Dissects the axiom "history is written by the winner". Examines how cities' narratives are created, sustained, and reinvented. Focuses on the assumptions and accepted histories of institutions, issues, conflicts, and cultures and their interconnectivity - through exposure to diverse tools used to create urban narratives.

Course | T GIS 415

Critical Theory and GIS Practicum

Explores the foundational debates that have impacted the evolution of geospatial software, technique, and methodology.

Course | T URB 305

Data And The City

Studies the intersection of data and everyday urban life. Prepares students to understand what is and is not captured in data and how said data come to represent themselves and their communities.

News | July 7, 2016

Data Science for Social Good 2016

This summer we are thrilled to be supporting the eScience Institute’s Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) program. Modeled after similar programs at the University of Chicago and Georgia Tech, with elements from eScience’s own Data Science Incubator, sixteen DSSG Student Fellows have been working with academic researchers, data scientists, and public stakeholder groups on…


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David Hendry

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Diana Pearce

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News | December 9, 2020

Did COVID-19 heal nature?

The Welsh village of Llandudno went quiet in March as stay-at-home orders began. Then the goats descended from the mountain. A wild herd of Kashmiri goats has lived near Llandudno for almost two centuries, and they sometimes come down from the Great Orme Mountain during inclement weather. But this spring, while the human world hit…


Course | T URB 211

Digital Cities

Examines the impact that information technology has had on the spatial form and socio-economic processes of contemporary metropolitan areas. Covers the information economy; the digital divide; and placemaking applications of mobile technology.

News | January 31, 2018

Does the big boss really matter in big-city school districts?

School district superintendents are often nice people, but boring. They rarely have much effect on what happens in classrooms, where the most interesting and productive changes occur. But because the nation’s two largest districts, New York and Los Angeles, are looking for new superintendents, I forced myself to read a trenchant new guide for superintendent…


News | February 18, 2017

Drones Are Turning Civilians Into an Air Force of Citizen Scientists

Last winter, as meteorologists warned of a monster El Niño, researchers at the Nature Conservancy in California prepared to mobilize with a new, distributed surveillance strategy: commercial drones, co-opted from a gung-ho statewide network of citizen scientists. Britta Ricker, geographic information scientist in Urban Studies University of Washington-Tacoma, shares her thoughts about the challenges and…


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Ed Lazowska

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Course | TEST 221

Environmental History: Water

Examines the historical relationship between water and fire, irrigation, grazing, mining, deforestation, and urbanization upon the regional and global environment. Using case histories based on water, emphasizes the sources and methods historians use to study environmental change over time.

Course | TIAS 443

Ethnicity and the Urban Landscape

Focuses on the intersection of ethnicity, architecture, and urbanism in the United States. Explores the concept of ethnic identity and the creation of a sense of place in urban environments. Examines local neighborhoods as a starting point for students' own investigations of ethnicity and the urban landscape.

Course | T URB 101

Exploring Cities: An Introduction to Urban Studies

Introduction to the multi-disciplinary field of Urban Studies. Exposes the complexity of everyday life in metropolitan areas. Explores how the various disciplines of sociology, anthropology, geography, economies, and political science have studies and made sense of cities. Special attention given to issues of class, race, and gender.

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Eyhab Al-Masri

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Fern Tiger

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News | July 6, 2021

Food for thought: Urban lakes contaminated with arsenic pose consumption risk

After analyzing the human health risks of eating aquatic organisms from arsenic-contaminated urban lakes in the Puget Sound lowlands, UW researchers have a menu of concerns. Specifically, they found that consuming certain aquatic organisms in the lakes elevates cancer risk. “The idea was to focus on organisms that people might eat, so we studied snails,…


News | June 18, 2018

Food insecurity is a growing obstacle for college students

Expanding access to higher education is a core part of the mission at the University of Washington Tacoma, which had its commencement Monday. Many of the campus’ students commute from nearby communities, 58 percent have parents without college degrees, and 73 percent receive financial aid. “We have a lot of first-generation students,” said Christine Stevens, a professor who…


News | June 12, 2018

Four Lessons From the Tacoma Whole Child Initiative

Five years ago, Tacoma launched the Whole Child Initiative, with the goal of supporting the comprehensive development and success of each student. We have seen firsthand that supporting the whole child comes with a new set of challenges. But, with the right partners and a focused plan, this approach can make all the difference for…


Course | T URB 314

Gender and the Urban Landscape

Examines linkages between cultural, physical, and symbolic urban landscapes and gender ideologies, structures, and practices. Major themes from gender and urban studies include domestic/public divisions, sexuality and city spaces, consumption, and urban design. Emphasizes integration of theoretical positions and ideas into students' work.

Degree Program

Geospatial Technologies (MS)

The Urban Studies Program offers a Master of Science in Geospatial Technologies degree. Admission is open during autumn quarter only and will be comprised of a 20 student cohort. The degree will provide advanced training in GIS, training students to use and apply geospatial hardware, software, and data in urban and environmental planning scenarios. It…

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Course | T SUD 444

Green Internationalism And The City

Explores the influence of global ecological politics on urban policy and development as well as the impacts that new forms of urbanization have on global ecological politics. Interrogates key interdisciplinary debates within global political economy, political ecology, and urban studies.

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Greg Miller

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Gregory Lund

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Course | T HIST 445

History Of Tacoma

Surveys the history and fabric of Washington state's second largest urban center. Topics include early settlements, Tacoma as the Pacific terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, commercial and social currents, ethnic and political struggle as recurring forces, and the development of regional institutions, local governments, and locally based corporations. Emphasizes architecture, urban planning and growth, and the built environment of Tacoma.

Course | TCSIIN 438

History of Urbanization and the Environment

Addresses the environmental impact of ancient, medieval, and modern cities. Includes the evolution of urban infrastructure and relations between city and countryside.

News | February 7, 2019

Homeowners keep building walls around Puget Sound. Biologists are taking out more

Puget Sound has started getting healthier, at least by one measure: A little less of its shoreline is buried under walls of concrete and rock. Biologists have long pointed to seawalls, bulkheads and other protective structures known as “shoreline armoring” as a major environmental problem for Puget Sound. More than 660 miles, or about 29…


News | February 18, 2020

Homes are selling in Tacoma at fastest rate in nation, Redfin says in new report

Last May, Redfin elevated Tacoma on the nation’s real estate map with a report saying the city was the nation’s hottest market.  That distinction was just given again. On Thursday, the real estate company’s blog reported Tacoma was the fastest-selling metro market nationwide in January. Tacoma also ranks high as a competitive market, with 34.2…


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….


Course | T URB 480

Housing in the United States

Examines the principles, concepts, and tools central to housing in the United States. Acquire a broad knowledge base of state and federal housing markets, policies/programs. Identify appropriate policies to suit multiple urban contexts. Develop an understanding of at least one innovative approach to address the need for affordable housing.

News | August 30, 2018

How racism kept black Tacomans from buying houses for decades

Honorably discharged after serving in the Korean War, the young man looked to settle down in Tacoma with his wife. If only they could convince someone to show them a home. If they got to a house first, the real estate agent would leave upon seeing them. They learned to park down the street and…


Course | T URB 205

Images of the City

Examines how the city is portrayed through various media and how those portrayals affect society's perception of urban places. Discusses imagery from films, literature, television, newspapers, and magazines. Considers images linked to such elements as crime, ethnic enclaves, downtown areas, and suburbia.

Course | T URB 250

Immigration, Race, And American Cities

Discusses the history of immigration and peopling of the U.S., focusing primarily on issues related to race, class, ethnicity, and gender in American cities since the nineteenth century.

Course | T GIS 312

Intermediate GIS

Examines GIS techniques that range from spatial analysis using vector and raster data models, to the analysis of three dimensional surfaces in urban space.

Course | T URB 399

International Urban Studies

Urban Studies courses taken through UWT foreign study program.

Course | T URB 110

Introduction to Digital Urban Data Analysis

Provides a methodological foundation to digital research and data analysis technologies to build a unique set of urban analytical tools.

Course | T GEOG 101

Introduction To Geography

Broad introduction to the field of geography within the context of globalization. Topics include the relationship between humans and their environment, the role of culture in landscape change, economic development, geopolitics, and urban systems.

Course | T GIS 502

Introduction to Geospatial Technology

Provides an introduction and overview of the role that geospatial technologies play in contemporary urban and environmental planning scenarios. Focuses on the applications and techniques that are core elements of the graduate program in Geospatial Technologies.

Course | T UDE 210

Introduction To Urban Design History And Theory

Provides an historical overview of urban design practice and its political economy, allowing students to learn about the intellectual trajectory of the discipline, both within and outside the structures of power.

Course | T URB 220

Introduction to Urban Planning

Introduction to the planning process. Presents and discusses the major planning sub-fields. Topics include housing, transportation, recreation, environmental planning, and preservation planning. Examines techniques associated with growth controls and land use management. Introductory course for students with planning emphasis.

Course | T URB 200/350

Introduction to Urban Research

Introduction to research methods pertinent to the study of urban issues, society and culture. Emphasizes the logic of the scientific method, understanding the interrelated stages of the research process, understanding and critiquing quantitative and qualitative research literature, and learning strategies for gathering and analyzing data.

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James Harrington

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Janine Jones

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Jeff Hou

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Jim Thatcher

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Joe Lott

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John Kobayashi

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John Vallier

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Julie Angeley

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Karen Fisher

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Karina Walters

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Katie Headrick Taylor

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Kelly Edwards

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Ken-Yu Lin

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Kevin Haggerty

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News | January 23, 2020

Land banking in the heart of Tacoma

There is a city block in the heart of Tacoma some people believe is not being put to its best use, stifling economic growth and blunting vitality. Four buildings and three parking lots now occupy 11 parcels along Tacoma Avenue, not far from the City-County Building. Six of the parcels have been tied up since 2005,…


Course | T URB 322

Land Use Planning

Examines the land use planning process at the local level with a focus on the contemporary United States. Review of theories of land use change, arguments for and against planning intervention, and the role of the land use planner in the local land development arena.

Scholar

Larry Knopp

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Course | T LAX 356

Latinx Urban Communities

Introduces Latinx urbanism, an interdisciplinary area of inquiry seeking to understand the impact of Latinx people on U.S. cities and metropolitan areas. Drawing from urban studies, cultural studies, rhetorical studies, and cultural geography, examines historical and contemporary issues affecting Latinx populations, as well the ways Latinx people are at the center of urban life in the U.S.

Course | TCMP 571

Legal Urbanism

Explores the relationship between law and the city, examining how "law" situates cities and urban residents in the US and shapes behaviors and environments in cities. Considers how legal structures enable or inhibit urban social justice and how they might be used to advance socially just and sustainable urban conditions.

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Lillian J. Ratliff

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Linda Hurley Ishem

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Lisa Hoffman

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News | December 13, 2016

Livable City Year releases RFP, invites cities to partner for 2017-8 academic year

The University of Washington’s Livable City Year initiative is now accepting proposals from cities, counties, special districts and regional partnerships to partner with during the 2017-2018 academic year. UW Livable City Year (UW LCY) connects University of Washington faculty and students with a municipal partner for a full academic year to work on projects fostering…


News | August 25, 2020

Livable City Year research leads to publication on university–community partnerships

Anne Taufen, associate professor of Urban Studies at UW Tacoma, and Anneka Olson, graduate of UW Tacoma’s Community Planning MA program, recently published an article examining the Livable City Year program, a university-community partnership at the University of Washington. This work was partially supported through Urban@UW. “Especially in this time of polarization, with problems like…


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Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson

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Luther Adams

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Manka Varghese

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Course | T GIS 311

Maps and GIS

Introduction to map interpretation and basic spatial analysis through the use of geographic information systems (GIS). Emphasizes developing, through hands-on experience, a fundamental understanding of GIS and the technical expertise necessary for applying GIS in a variety of scenarios such as environmental science, urban planning, nursing, social work, and business.

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Marge Plecki

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Marieka M. Klawitter

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Mark Pendras

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Mary Clevenger-Bright

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Mary D. Fan

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Matthew Kelley

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Course | T HIST 490

Medieval Technology

Examines the nuts and bolts of medieval technology and urban life while exploring larger themes of the gendering of labor, the rebirth of cities, the uneasy relationship to Islamic civilization, and the destruction of the natural world.

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Meredith I. Honig

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Michael Knapp

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Michelle Garner

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Course | TCXG 379

Modern Architecture

Examines twentieth-century architecture and its origins. Focuses on issues concerning style, technology, urbanism, regionalism, function, and reform to address the diverse forces that have shaped modern architecture.

News | July 2, 2020

Monsanto will pay $95 million in PCB settlement with Washington state

The state of Washington will receive tens of millions of dollars in a settlement against Monsanto over its manufacture of toxic chemicals that were deposited decades ago in Washington soil and water and continue to wreak environmental damage today. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office in 2016 sued the company over its production of polychlorinated…


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 | June 4, 2018

Mussels In Waters Off Seattle Test Positive For Opioids

Mussels from three of 18 locations near Seattle and Bremerton in Washington’s Puget Sound tested positive for the opioid oxycodone, according to the Puget Sound Institute at the University of Washington Tacoma. The mussels were contaminated because sewage from opioid consumers ended up in the sound after being treated at wastewater plants, scientists explained. “What we eat and…


Scholar

Nancy Beadie

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News | February 12, 2016

New! Urban Map Gallery

We’ve created a new urban map gallery to explore how other people and organizations are studying and visualizing data. The gallery features seven cities facing different social, economic, and geographic issues. This curation is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather provide insight and inspiration. Maps included track everything from sound to subway…


News | July 16, 2020

Opportunities to engage UW faculty and students to address COVID-19

In recognition of the intense needs of local governments around COVID-19 response and recovery, the LCY program has compiled a list of existing UW courses whose faculty and students are seeking to assist local communities in COVID-related projects. Most projects can start in Autumn 2020 — some as early as Summer 2020. The list of…


Course | T URB 430

Pacific Rim Cities

Examines links between urbanization and globalization on the Pacific Rim and connections between events and social/economic processes in places that seem distinct (e.g., China, Canada, Mexico, Philippines). Case studies and discussion topics include questions of class formation, political change, migration patterns, and gender/family dynamics.

Scholar

Pierpaolo Mudu

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Course | T URB 479

Planning and Development in the Puget Sound Region

Examines the problems and prospects associated with rapid growth in the Seattle-Tacoma urban region. Includes site visits and discussions with public officials, planners and developers. Topics/sites vary and include such issues as growth management, sprawl, transportation, sustainable development, land use, and environmental protection.

Course | TCMP 572

Planning For Equity

Provides an overview of the equity planning tradition in urban affairs and community planning. Introduces participatory process, democratic deliberation, and inclusive management. Emphasizes planning skills for recognizing, empowering, and resourcing groups and individuals with historical, economic, and operational disadvantages in processes of urban development and decision-making.

Course | T URB 450

Planning for Sustainability

Examines the growing impact of global sustainability on local spatial planning systems, especially in the US, UK, Europe and South Africa. Specific topics include the philosophies, theories, goals, techniques, and institutional politics of sustainability planning.

Course | TCMP 521

Planning Theory And Practice

Explores how community planners and other actors engage theories of planning procedures and preferred urban forms to guide urban development and social change. Considers how leading scholars in the field have theorized the potential and challenges of planning.

Course | TSMG 440

Political Geography: Territory, State and Society

Introduction to political geography from the perspective of political economy and the politics of difference. Discusses both critical approaches to human geography and geographical interpretations of the state. Emphasizes spatial dimensions of capitalist development as mediated by urban, national and global politics.

Course | T GEOG 440

Political Geography: Territory, State And Society

Introduction to political geography from the perspective of political economy and the politics of difference. Discusses both critical approaches to human geography and geographical interpretations of the state. Emphasizes spatial dimensions of capitalist development as mediated by urban, national and global politics.

Course | TCMP 573

Power And Decentralization

Presents theoretical frameworks for analyzing political power in collaborative networks. Introduces analytic methods for understanding and anticipating how power operated in decentralized governance, including the ways in which community groups and urban stakeholders can identify key coalitions, political frames, and entry points in processes of urban development and resource allocation.

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…


Course | T URB 312

Race and Poverty in Urban America

Examines current research, policy, and debate surrounding race and poverty in urban America. Includes affirmative action, the changing family, cultural identity, the inner-city crisis, interracial relationships, residential segregation, and the working and non-working poor.

Scholar

Rachel Endo

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News | February 19, 2016

Reading List for Dr. Mario Small’s Visit 2/25

In anticipation of next week’s lecture with Harvard’s Dr. Mario Luis Small we thought you might enjoy a few readings to get a feel for what exactly he is all about. No Two Ghettos Are Alike – This short piece by Dr. Small shares it’s name with Thursday’s lecture, and explores some of the complex…


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…


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Rubén Casas

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Sally Clark

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Seung-Jin Lee

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Sharon E. Sutton

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Course | T SOC 335

Social Class And Inequality

Examines the problem of persistent urban poverty in the United States. Explores the differential risk of poverty experienced by racial and ethnic groups and by women and children in the context of the major theories of class stratification. Also discusses the factors that lead to extreme-poverty neighborhoods, how these environments affect the life chances of residents, survival strategies of the poor, and public policy implications.

Course | T SUD 425

Social Justice and Urban Sustainability

Examines sustainable urban development from a social justice perspective. Draws from key theories and practices to explore how and why to incorporate social justice into sustainable urban development politics and policies and the challenges facing such efforts.

News | January 8, 2021

Spanaway tops list of toughest places in the U.S. to buy a home

When Eric Seiler started looking to buy a house near Spanaway at the height of this year’s coronavirus lockdowns, he thought he might find a buyers’ market. Instead, Seiler and his fiancée started on a home search that involved making at least 15 offers on homes, only to be beat out by other buyers. “There…


Course | T URB 225

Statistics for Urban Analysis

Introduces basic methods of both descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, and applies them to topics common to the field of urban planning and community development. Develops a critical perspective on how such methods relate to public discourse and urban policy-making.

Scholar

Stephen Page

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Steve Fink

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Steve Muench

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News | June 26, 2015

Strong Communities Successful Kids by Kevin Haggerty

Presented at the June 1st Urban@UW Launch


Course | T URB 380

Study Abroad: Comparative International Perspectives on Cities and the Environment

Interdisciplinary approach to integrating urban and environmental issues in two or more world cities. Topics may include coastal development, transportation, parks, marine conservation, indigenous cultures, environmental planning, gentrification, urban governance, and watershed management.

Degree Program

Sustainable Urban Development (BA)

Accomplishing sustainable urban development is a crucial challenge for the twenty-first century. The University of Washington Tacoma is at the forefront of engaging and educating undergraduate students on this topic. The Sustainable Urban Development degree provides students with a critical and rigorous training in ecological, political, economic, and social aspects of urban development processes.

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Course | T URB 323

Sustainable Urban Development Policies

Examines how public policy mechanisms are used to support and accomplish sustainability through the interweaving of social equity, economic prosperity, and environmental protection. Encourages the development of both critical and constructive perspectives on policies of sustainability.

News | February 20, 2021

Systemic racism affects wildlife, too: A Q&A with an urban ecologist

What makes the country mouse different from the city mouse? Christopher Schell is a wildlife ecologist who has been curious about this dynamic his entire career. Though he specializes in coyotes instead of mice, the question remains the same. Schell, an assistant professor at the University of Washington Tacoma, is also part of a growing…


News | August 17, 2020

Systemic racism has consequences for all life in cities

Social inequalities, specifically racism and classism, are impacting the biodiversity, evolutionary shifts, and ecological health of plants and animals in our cities. That’s the main finding of a review paper led by the University of Washington, with co-authors at the University of California, Berkeley, and University of Michigan, which examined more than 170 published studies and analyzed…


News | July 27, 2021

Tacoma has been singing about itself from the start. Here’s why Grit City music matters

With some 20,000 people in the newly opened stands of Tacoma’s Stadium Bowl, the city’s elementary students broke into song — and a number specifically written for the occasion. The chorus was prideful and catchy — at least by 1910 standards — describing the City of Destiny as “Tacoma, The Rose of the West,” which…


Scholar

Tadayoshi Kohno

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Course | T URB 360

The African American Urban Experience

Places African Americans at the center of the American urban condition from the colonial era to the 21st century. Interdisciplinary study of U.S. urban history, contemporary social, cultural and policy research and comparative perspectives on race and ethnicity to illuminate the growth and evolution of African American urban communities.

Course | T URB 440

The City and Nature

Examines connections between urban and environmental conditions by investigating the social and material production of urban nature. Challenges conceptual barriers between nature and the city that have evolved over time and considers new strategies for achieving both environmental sustainability and social justice in the city.

News | May 21, 2020

The coronavirus is hitting Pierce County’s communities of color hard, health data shows

People of color are being hit hard by the coronavirus in Pierce County. New data from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department show native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and blacks are suffering from COVID-19 at rates far above their percentages of the county population. “We are very concerned about the significant disparities we are…


News | February 27, 2020

The Debate Over Single Family Housing

Nearly a century into the story of single-family zoning, feelings and ideas around it are starting to shift. The City of Minneapolis and the State of Oregon both recently passed laws that loosen single-family regulations. California has proposed similar measures: some have failed (such as one encouraging denser development near transit), others have succeeded (such…


Course | T URB 321

The History of Planning Theory and Practice

An examination of planning theory and practice with an emphasis on twentieth-century theorists and advocates. Examines the impacts of planning theories and movements on planning practice and urban form in Europe and America.

Course | T URB 301

The Urban Condition

An overview of the city as a place of residence, commerce, and industry. Consideration is given to urban form and function. Social, economic, and political factors affecting urban life and development are discussed. Issues related to social justice and equity are emphasized.

News | July 18, 2017

There’s a map for that

If you own a cell phone or a mobile device you’re likely creating data that could be mapped. “When you add a Yelp review or geotag a tweet you’re actually volunteering geographic information, you are mapping,” said UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Britta Ricker. Most of us use maps to determine our location, to find out…


Course | TCSIIN 342

Third-World Cities

Studies growth of selected Third World cities and the spatial, ethnic and class divisions within them. Introduces their historical legacy, previous ties to colonial rules, and pressures to remain centers of capitalist production. Examines urban "bias" and subsequent concentration of economic, political, and cultural power in terms of political and survival struggles.

Scholar

Thomas Diehm

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News | December 8, 2020

Tire dust killing coho salmon returning to Puget Sound, new research shows

First they circle. Then they gasp at the surface of the water. Soon they can’t swim. Then they die. For decades now, scientists have known something was killing beautiful, adult coho salmon as soon as they hit Seattle’s urban waters, ready to spawn. They had escaped the orcas, the fishermen, traveled thousands of miles, only…


News | March 31, 2016

Towards a Speculative Politics for African Cities with Edgar Pieterse – 4/12

Join us April 12 at Kane Hall (Room 120) for Visiting Scholar Edgar Pieterse, Please Register for this Public Event Towards a Speculative Politics for African Cities The available frames to understand and reimagine contemporary urban politics in the African context come down two divergent pathways: 1) build the institutional infrastructure to enact the deliberative…


News | March 1, 2018

Tri-campus survey aims to identify student struggles with housing, food costs

In a region as expensive as the Puget Sound, making ends meet affects college students, too. Rent, utilities and food can run into the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month – and for students without the means, it’s a daunting and sometimes compromising challenge. Urban@UW is trying to learn more about the situations…


Course | T URB 432

Understanding Metropolitan Regions

Explores patterns and policy problems associated with managing large U.S. metropolitan regions, especially shifting city-suburb relationships and major development challenges. Includes discussion of demographic change, socioeconomic trends, public policies, and political programs link cities and suburbs at multiple scales of governance.

Course | T URB 324

Urban And Regional Economics

Uses economic frameworks to introduce the determinants of regional economic growth or decline, location of economic activities within urban areas, operation of urban labor markets, and implications of income inequality on urban form and urban growth. Students gain familiarity with major sources of subnational economic and demographic data.

News | June 2, 2020

Urban carnivores appear to be more nocturnal as region slows due to coronavirus

The slowdown of daily life under stay-at-home orders because of the coronavirus has many of us feeling more connected to nature. We hear more birdsong in the mornings. The air seems cleaner. Perhaps we’re seeing more wildlife in the parks as we take walks in our neighborhoods. But the change of pace hasn’t necessarily benefitted…


Course | T URB 201 / 401

Urban Change and Development

Examines relationships that shape the development of cities under conditions of globalization. Overview of key terms and concepts, examples of changing urban social and economic conditions, and analysis of connections among global processes, urban experiences, and the production of urban space in the United States.

News | December 12, 2018

Urban Ecologist/Superhero

UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Christopher Schell is a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as evidenced by the Black Panther coffee cup and Black Panther bobble head on his desk. Schell is a scientist, not a superhero; but if he were to assume a secret identity he might be dubbed, “Coyote.” Schell is an urban…


Course | T URB 445 / T SUD 445

Urban Ecology

Multidisciplinary approach to the study of dynamic interactions among human and ecological systems in urban settings. Covers processes of urbanization and urbanization's impacts on the earth's ecology. Specific themes include how socioeconomic factors and human preferences drive urban patterns and how these patterns affect ecological processes and cause ecological change.

News | January 25, 2020

Urban Ecology and Social Justice

Christopher Schell will tell you he’s a black nerd. He’ll tell you he was up at 3 a.m. the night before a conference because his infant son would not sleep. He’ll tell you the students who work in his lab at the University of Washington, Tacoma are paid rather than expected to volunteer. He’ll tell…


Course | T URB 379

Urban Field Experience

Urban field course based in a metropolitan area. Examines urban problems, issues, and developments through site visits, presentations by local experts, and student research and reports.

Course | T GEOG 321

Urban Geography

Examines the spatial organization of cities in relation to the economic, social, cultural, and political forces that shape them. Includes such topics as the evolution of cities, perceptions of urban space, gentrification, race and housing, homelessness, social exclusion, urban redevelopment, suburbanization, and planning. Emphasizes U.S. cities.

Course | T URB 345

Urban Governance

Examines the structure and workings of urban government and non-governmental agencies and organizations. Considers the responsibilities and challenges of governmental and non-governmental organizations along with their impact on the physical and social development of the city.

Course | T URB 460

Urban Issues in the Developing World

Examines challenges associated with urban development and societal change in developing countries. Examines topics such as mega cities, squatter housing, and informal labor. Adopts a geographical perspective and focuses on local governance issues.

Course | TSMUS 417

Urban Problems and Policies

Develops and applies economic analyses to an understanding of the dynamics and underlying structure of urban economies and urban problems. Draws examples from the local economy and local problems.

Course | TECON 418

Urban Problems and Policies

Develops and applies economic analyses to an understanding of the dynamics and underlying structure of urban economies and urban problems. Draws examples from the local economy and local problems.

News | August 28, 2017

Urban Scholar Highlight: Scott Allard

Scott W. Allard is a Professor of Public Affairs at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Allard is also on the executive committee of the West Coast Poverty Center and Urban@UW, and an affiliate of the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology. We sat down with him to discuss his work at…


Course | T URB 340

Urban Social Change

Examines issues that directly affect the strength and vulnerabilities of urban communities and organizations and institution within those communities. Uses case studies to consider how creative participatory approaches can and do influence change.

Course | T URB 210

Urban Society and Culture

An examination of the social structures of cities. Discusses issues related to class, race, ethnicity, and gender. Considers the impact of societal differences on urban form, residential patterns, and labor markets.

Degree Program

Urban Studies (Cert, BA, MA, MS)

The Urban Studies Program offers a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies with formal options in Global Urbanism and Community Development & Planning. The degree starts with an introduction into the discipline of urban studies with course topics on exploring cities, world development, and urban studies “in practice”. The formal options deliver focused theory and…

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Course | T URB 492

Urban Studies Seminar

Interdisciplinary approach to the study of urban issues and problems. Designed for an in-depth analysis of selected issues. Focuses on one aspect of the city (e.g., gentrification, housing, segregation, sprawl).

Course | T URB 325

Urban Transportation: Problems and Prospects

Provides an overview of urban transportation, it challenges and prospects. Examines historical and contemporary issues such as the relationship of mobility to the urban form, environmental concerns, climate change impacts, and the challenges of sustainable urban transportation.

News | October 20, 2017

Urban@UW compiles Faculty Highlights Report for research, teaching and engagement on homelessness

As part of its recently launched Homelessess Research Initiative, Urban@UW has collaborated with faculty and staff across all three UW campuses to compile a broad-ranging selection of powerful and robust projects addressing homelessness from a research lens. Check out the Faculty Highlights Report to learn more about these efforts and the people behind them.


News | August 18, 2020

Urban@UW Research Spark Grants awardees announced

Urban@UW is excited to announce the awardees for our Research Spark Grants program. The two proposals selected address urgent urban challenges in our region, with a strong focus on community engagement and vulnerable populations.   Co-creating an Adaptive Community-Science Network: Supporting Tribal and Grassroots Action through the Puget Creek Watershed Assessment Urban communities in the…


News | June 26, 2015

Urbanity and Indigeneity with respect to Education by Megan Bang

Presented at the June 1st Urban@UW Launch


News | October 27, 2015

UW initiative aims to tackle city, region’s most pressing urban issues

When Thaisa Way put a call out last spring to see if University of Washington faculty members working on urban issues wanted to join forces, she wasn’t sure what the response would be. “There were a lot of people who said, ‘You’re not going to get anyone to show up,‘” said Way, a UW associate…


News | September 14, 2015

UW Partners with Seattle for Smart Cities Initiative

UW Today is reporting that, as part of a new White House Smart Cities Initiative called The MetroLab Network, the University of Washington has partnered with the City of Seattle in joining “a new national network of university-city partnerships that will work on ‘smart city’ solutions.” “Great universities can’t succeed without great cities,” said UW…


News | September 1, 2020

UW researchers explore how urbanization changes Earth’s ecosystems in new paper

UW researchers Marina Alberti, Urban Design & Planning; Simone Des Roches, Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences; and Christopher Schell, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at UW Tacoma have published a new report titled “The Complexity of Urban Eco-evolutionary Dynamics”, examining how urbanization affects ecological and evolutionary processes over time, and how these changes affect nature’s contribution to people….


News | October 1, 2015

UW School of Social Work taps technology to help curb suicide and improve child welfare

Edwina “Eddie” Uehara, a University of Washington professor and Ballmer Endowed Dean in Social Work, is eager to facilitate cultural exchanges. Not exchanges of people from different countries or ethnicities, but from disciplines that can be worlds apart: computer technology and social work. “It really is this moment,” said Uehara, “when all of us are…


News | May 13, 2019

UW students face food, housing insecurity, survey shows

Preliminary data from a survey of food and housing insecurity at the University of Washington’s three campuses shows that an estimated 190 students may lack a stable place to live, and about one-quarter of students have worried recently about having enough to eat. Results of the online survey, conducted by UW faculty in 2018, are…


News | February 15, 2018

UW, Seattle & King county join forces for new academic health department

The University of Washington Schools of Public Health and of Nursing have formalized an alliance with Public Health – Seattle & King County that seeks to encourage collaboration and resource sharing through a new academic health department. The three-year partnership will provide a foundation for increased training and other opportunities for students, faculty, researchers and…


Scholar

Victoria Lawson

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News | September 11, 2019

Wartime history found in secret compartment on Beacon Hill

A Beacon Hill couple recently discovered a secret compartment in the basement ceiling of their 1920s house. Hidden inside the compartment was an intriguing collection of World War II and early-Cold War documents that reveal the activities of the Seattle chapter of a mostly-forgotten national organization, as well some other more provocative political activities from…


News | May 7, 2021

What can our cities do for us? Columnist Rubén Casas has ideas

Originally written by Rubén Casas, Assistant Professor of rhetoric and composition at the University of Washington Tacoma, for Crosscut.  Of the many insightful things Italo Calvino wrote about a city, the one that sticks with me the most is this one: “You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer…


News | December 24, 2020

What is a Community Land Trust? And could one help with Tacoma’s homelessness crisis?

When Tacoma Housing Now took over vacant Gault Middle School in November to shelter unhoused people, the action came with a list of demands. The most prominent of them insisted on making Gault, which has sat vacant for a decade, part of a Community Land Trust, also called a CLT. In Tacoma, CLTs aren’t a new idea….


Scholar

Yonn Dierwechter

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