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Natural Hazards

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 | August 5, 2019

‘I’d drink my jacuzzi’: how earthquake scientists prepare for the ‘big one’

Two back-to-back earthquakes, of magnitude 6.4 and 7.1, hit southern California in less than 24 hours last month, and seismologists have warned of an increased chance of more shaking in the near future. We spoke with four earthquake scientists living in high-risk areas to see what the people who think about earthquakes the most plan to do…


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 | October 10, 2019

A space-strapped city gets an unusual opportunity: A brand-new neighborhood

As apartment high-rises and office skyscrapers have filled and reshaped Seattle, there’s one long, thin strip of relatively untouched land that stands in sharp contrast to all the development around it. The 25-acre plot of land next to the Queen Anne neighborhood and near the shore of Elliott Bay—surrounded by a golf course, rail yard,…


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…


Funding

Amazon Catalyst Grant

Amazon Catalyst’s goal is to help people develop solutions to key problems faced in the world today. Problems can be diverse, from computer security, to immigration, to climate change. Because issues like these are complex, solutions will come from many different fields and many different perspectives. Therefore, the grants are open to all disciplines, including…

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News | September 28, 2020

As wildfire smoke clears, King County’s airport communities continue fight for clean air

As massive clouds of smoke from wildfires throughout the region obscured the sky last week, SeaTac Deputy Mayor Peter Kwon filtered the air in his own home by attaching a furnace filter to a box fan and then duct-taping a triangular piece of cardboard over the gaps. When the air quality index (AQI) rose to…


News | November 21, 2019

Baking cities advance ‘slowly’ in race against rising heat threat

With urban populations surging around the world, cities will struggle to keep residents safe from fast-growing heat risks turbo-charged by climate change, scientists and public health experts warned this week. Heat is already the leading cause of deaths from extreme weather in countries including the United States. The problem is particularly severe in cities, where…


Map

Biodiversity Interactive Map

Biodiversity Interactive Map (BIM) is an easy to use tool to display and produce maps of Victoria’s biodiversity, native vegetation, flora and fauna data. BIM displays information on Victoria’s: Vegetation, Biodiversity, Planning, Threatened Flora and Fauna, Wetlands, Marine and coast, Disturbance, Catchments, Land administration and classification

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Bob Freitag

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News | August 19, 2019

Breathing dirty city air is as bad for your lungs as smoking

Even if you’ve never smoked, just living in a city with polluted air could lead to emphysema. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that air pollution—and in particular ozone, which is increasing with climate change—makes the lung disease progress faster. If you live in a city with high ozone levels for a…


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Brian J. Harvey

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Funding

Bridge Funding Program

The University of Washington Provost’s Office provides bridge funding to support faculty to span the gap in critical research programs. Applications from faculty should be submitted to the applicant’s department chair, who should prioritize requests before forwarding them to the dean of the college/school. In non-departmentalized colleges/schools, applications should be submitted to the dean or…

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Brooke Sullivan

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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…


Funding

Bullitt Foundation Grants

The Foundation’s resources are modest when compared to the ambitious mission of promoting sustainable development over a huge region. So its role is mostly catalytic. The Foundation looks for high risk, high potential payoff opportunities to exert unusual leverage. It has a special interest in demonstrating innovative approaches that promise to solve multiple problems simultaneously.…

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News | October 31, 2019

California fires, from the Getty Center to Kincade, unleash another danger: Air pollution

The defining story of the raging Sonoma and Los Angeles wildfires is one we’re barely talking about: Wildfire smoke, and its contribution to rising air pollution levels across much of the United States, is irreversibly harming human health. While the blazes may seem like a problem limited to California and the West Coast, it’s a dangerous and increasingly frequent contributor…


News | July 16, 2020

CEE researchers develop first-ever map that quantifies landslide risk in Seattle

When it comes to safeguarding Seattle from landslide hazards, UW CEE Ph.D. student William Pollock has a plan mapped out – quite literally. He will soon be releasing a first-of-its-kind map that predicts landslide risk throughout the city. “As far as I know, this is the first map in the nation to quantify landslide risk…


Center & Lab

Center for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience (CoSSaR)

The Center for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience (CoSSaR) is a multi-disciplinary facility and environment where professionals from a wide range of entities (federal, state, county, city, tribal, international, public and private) team with university experts to align strategies, processes and investments in systems for security, safety and resilience. CoSSaR is directed…

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Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHANGE)

CHANGE collaboratively develops and promotes innovative approaches to understanding and managing the risks of global environmental change. CHANGE conducts research and policy analysis, education and training, and technical assistance and capacity building, integrating health, environmental, and social sciences. CHANGE focuses on health outcomes associated with the consequences of global environmental changes, such as extreme weather…

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Center for Urban Waters

Research conducted by University of Washington Tacoma scientists at the Center for Urban Waters seeks to understand and quantify the sources, pathways and impacts of chemical pollutants in urban waterways.Highly sensitive analytical tools to measure contaminant levels are combined with sophisticated computer models to track pollutant sources and transport in the Puget Sound region. UW…

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Charles W Roeder

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Center & Lab

Circular City + Living Systems Lab (CCLS)

The Circular City + Living Systems Lab (CCLS) is an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students researching living systems integrated into the built environment that produce and circulate resources within the food-water-energy nexus. Synthesizing expertise from architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, planning, biology, and ecology, the CCLS applies principles of research and design to investigate transformative…

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News | August 5, 2019

City of Vancouver looks west to continue restoration of Burnt Bridge Creek greenway

For decades, Burnt Bridge Creek was little more than a polluted drainage ditch lined by invasive vegetation. The creek flows west for about 13 miles through the city, from its headwaters in east Vancouver, before emptying into a natural wetland near Northwest Lakeshore Avenue and flowing through two culverts into Vancouver Lake. It has a…


Funding

Civic Innovation Challenge

The Civic Innovation Challenge, funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Homeland Security, supports partnerships between communities and universities that address mobility and resilience priorities. Teams will compete for awards of up to $1 million to support ready-to-implement, research-based pilot projects that have the potential for scalable, sustainable,…

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News | February 11, 2018

Climate change and equity – A community conversation

Join UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, Front and Centered, the Climate Impacts Group, Urban@UW, and UW School of Public Health for an evening discussion about climate change and equity in Washington State on February 21st, 2018 at 5:30 PM. Front and Centered, Urban@UW, the Climate Impacts Group and the UW School of…


News | April 18, 2019

Climate change as a social justice issue in Seattle

This story was written by Urban@UW communications assistant Shahd Al Baz, as part of her research with our program. Social justice paradigms hold that structural barriers to economic development drive, and are driven by, environmental and spatial conditions. We need look no further than Seattle to see this, where patterns of environmental degradation intersect with…


News | December 6, 2018

Climate change consequences ‘already being felt’ in communities across U.S.

As California’s catastrophic wildfires recede and people rebuild after two hurricanes, a massive new federal report warns that these types of extreme weather disasters are worsening in the United States. The White House report quietly issued Friday also frequently contradicts President Donald Trump. The National Climate Assessment was written long before the deadly fires in California this…


News | October 24, 2019

Climate change could make borrowing costlier for states and cities

Someday soon, analysts will determine that a city or county, or maybe a school district or utility, is so vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding, drought or wildfire that it is an investment risk. As ratings firms begin to focus on climate change, and investors increasingly talk about the issue, those involved in the market…


News | November 20, 2019

Climate Migration and Global Cities

Between 2009 and 2018, 71 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced. This includes 41 million people who have been displaced within their own country, including the majority of climate migrants (World Bank Group, 2018 [PDF]); 26 million refugees, those forced to flee because of violence or persecution; and 4 million asylum-seekers, those who are waiting for…


Research Beyond UW | Lousiana State University

Coastal Sustainability Studio

The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio brings together academic disciplines that typically conduct research separately—such as designers, scientists, planners, and engineers—to intensively study and respond to critical issues of coastal settlement, restoration, flood protection, and economic development. Through its integrated design and systems thinking approach, programs, and projects, the CSS builds university capacity and transdisciplinary teams…

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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 | April 28, 2020

Construction causes major pollution. Here’s how we can build better.

Buildings of the future will be grown on-site, says Wil Srubar, an assistant professor of architectural engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder who also runs the Living Materials Laboratory. They’ll be made from hemp, or algae or specially engineered wood — or bacteria that can photosynthesize, like the cyanobacteria mortar he and his research…


News | June 26, 2015

CoSSar presented by Scott Miles

​Presented at June 1st Urban@UW Launch Meeting


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Cynthia Chen

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Dan Abramson

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Daniel Kirschen

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Daniel Schindler

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Dave Montgomery

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David Butman

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Dawn Lehman

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Funding

Department of Homeland Security – Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities

The Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program makes federal funds available to states, U.S territories, Indian tribal governments, and local communities for pre-disaster mitigation activities.

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News | October 27, 2017

Developing ‘breakaway’ tsunami resistant buildings

The best designs can also be the most surprising. A promising new concept for tsunami resistant buildings features breakaway walls and floors on lower levels that, when removed by forceful waves, strengthen the structure and better protect occupants seeking safety on higher floors. Thanks to a $1 million National Science Foundation Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing…


Center & Lab

Disaster Data Science Lab

We are a group of data scientists and trainees who research how to leverage data to help others before, during, and after disasters. Globally, frequency and intensity of disasters are rising. We tackle pressing and challenging problems of disaster research by collecting and analyzing data to suggest evidence-based remedies.

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Map | New York

Dredge Collective: Mapping New York Harbor

JFK airport and thousands of acres encircling Jamaica Bay were marshy wetlands before being filled in. The extant vegetated marsh islands within it are eroding at an ever-accelerating rate. Without additional anthropogenic influences – such as the creative application of dredged materials to reconstruct the islands – they may completely disappear as soon as 2020.…

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Center & Lab

EarthLab

EarthLab reimagines the world as it could be, while impacting the world as it is. Equal parts research engine and community catalyst, EarthLab harnesses the power of co-created solutions to our most imminent environmental challenges.

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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…


News | October 10, 2017

Earthquakes are inevitable but catastrophe is not

Written by University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Marc Eberherd, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering associate professor Jeffery Berman, and Department of Human-Centered Design senior scientist Scott Miles. Many older buildings provide vital, low-cost housing. But we must find a way to make these structures safer. It should not be…


News | June 26, 2015

Environmental Change – Local Impacts and Response by Himanshu Grover

Presented at the June 1st Urban@UW Launch


Funding

Environmental Justice Fund

The Environmental Justice Fund is a grant opportunity for community-led projects that improve environmental conditions, respond to impacts of climate change and get us closer to achieving environmental justice. Created in 2017, the Fund is overseen by the Environmental Justice Committee, people with deep community roots working closely with communities on environmental justice issues. Environmental…

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Erin Wirth

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Ernesto Alvarado Celestin

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News | June 22, 2020

Fighting climate change means fighting racial injustice

“You can’t let one segment of society become a sacrifice.” Michael Méndez, an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine, was on the phone talking about the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd beneath a white police officer’s knee. But he was also talking about environmental justice and climate change. And he could…


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Frank Gonzalez

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News | September 28, 2018

Glacier melt likely to impact Pacific Northwest water supply

In light of global warming, more glaciers means more melting. And for the Pacific Northwest, which is home to the most glaciers in the contiguous 48 states, that also means increased vulnerability. For the first time, a team of researchers has evaluated the hydrological impact of receding glaciers in the region, which is expected to…


Research Beyond UW | Newcastle University

Global Research Urban Research Unit (GURU)

The Global Urban Research Unit combines traditional and innovative approaches to the analysis of cities and towns, to better understand place and its potential creative and sustainable transformation. Our work is theoretically informed but often deeply related to the experiences of citizens, policy-makers and other stakeholders. GURU thus prides itself on the ways its work…

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News | September 10, 2020

Here’s how to stay safe as wildfire smoke creates unhealthy air quality in Seattle

People in the Seattle area woke up Tuesday morning to hazy orange skies and the smell of smoke over the region as winds blew wildfire smoke from Eastern Washington into the Puget Sound. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency rated the air quality in the region as “unhealthy for everyone” and advised people to take precautions to stay safe….


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Himanshu Grover

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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 | March 14, 2017

How future superstorms could overwhelm today’s wastewater infrastructure

The current Seattle rainstorm, and many like it this year, are overwhelming our city’s wastewater pipes, and some sewage may be dumping into the Puget Sound as we speak. But even in a normal year, King County dumps about 800 million gallons of raw sewage into its waterways. That’s because, when it rains too much…


News | April 10, 2018

How Texas is ‘building back better’ from Hurricane Harvey

For most Americans, the one-two punch of last fall’s hurricanes is ancient history. But hard-hit communities in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean are still rebuilding. Nicole Errett, lecturer in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, recently traveled with public health students from the University of Washington to southeast Texas, where the impacts of…


Center & Lab

Human Interaction With Nature and Technological Systems (HINTS) Lab

The HINTS lab seeks to address - from a psychological stance - two world trends that are powerfully reshaping human existence: The degradation if not destruction of large parts of the natural world, and Unprecedented technological development, both in terms of its computational sophistication and pervasiveness.

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Funding

Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment (HDBE)

The Humans, Disasters and the Built Environment (HDBE) program supports fundamental, multidisciplinary research on the interactions between humans and the built environment within and among communities exposed to natural, technological and other types of hazards and disasters. The program's context is provided by ongoing and emerging changes in three interwoven elements of a community: its…

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Ian Miller

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Funding

IBM Center for the Business of Government – Connecting Research to Practice

The aim of the IBM Center for The Business of Government is to tap into the best minds in academe and the nonprofit sector who can use rigorous public management research and analytic techniques to help public sector executives and managers improve the effectiveness of government. We are looking for very practical findings and actionable…

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News | May 21, 2020

In Seattle’s polluted valley, pandemic and particulates are twin threats

From a boat on the Duwamish River, it’s easy to see giant yellow excavators plucking crushed cars off the ground and swinging them toward an open-air shredder. At Seattle Iron and Metal, mounds of shredded steel as big as apartment buildings loom above the river. “It looks like something out of Mad Max,” James Rasmussen…


Degree Program

Infrastructure Planning & Management

Well-planned infrastructure strengthens the sustainability and livability of our cities and communities. University of Washington's online Master of Infrastructure Planning & Management degree prepares you to lead the development of the next generation of critical infrastructure systems ­­— resilient, secure and accessible.

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Center & Lab

Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning and Research

The Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning and Research is dedicated to integrating hazards mitigation principles into a wide range of crisis, disaster, and risk management opportunities. Its mission is to build a resource center that will enhance risk reduction and resilience activities through research and analysis of hazards, policies related to mitigation, and outreach to…

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Degree Program

Interdisciplinary Urban Design & Planning (PhD)

This program brings together faculty from disciplines ranging from Architecture to Sociology to focus on the interdisciplinary study of urban problems and interventions. Covering scales from neighborhoods to metropolitan areas, the program addresses interrelationships between the physical environment, the built environment, and the social, economic, and political institutions and processes that shape urban areas. The…

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Center & Lab

Jaffe Research Group

The Jaffe group mission is to study and understand the local, regional and global sources of pollution in the Western U.S., with an emphasis on ozone, aerosols and mercury. They also seek to understand the chemical processing of these pollutants and their links to climate change.

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Jan Newton

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Jeffery Cordell

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Jeremy Hess

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John Stanton

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John Vidale

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Joseph Wartman

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Julian Marshall

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Map

Killing the Colorado

The Colorado River — the most important water source for 40 million people in the West — is draining. For a century, seven states engineered ways to wring ever more water from the river, defying all natural limitations. But now, the very water laws and policies that shaped progress are rendering the West more vulnerable…

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Map | Berlin

King County iMap

iMap is an application that allows you to view King County spatial information (GIS data and images) in an interactive map display. You can customize your map display to show just the information you want to see at the best scale for your chosen purpose. iMap is your window to a wealth of geographic information…

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Degree Program

Landscape Architecture (BLA, MLA, dual MArch-MLA, dual MLA-MUP)

At the University of Washington, we strive to create a program that meets the complex social, environmental, political, and aesthetic challenges of our time. Our program emphasis on urban ecological design addresses the multiple dimensions of today’s environmental challenges – infrastructure, culture, ecological literacy, and human and environmental health. With our focus on the intersection…

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Center & Lab

Landscape Ecology and Conservation Lab

​The Landscape Ecology and Conservation Lab does research in the areas of: Climate Change, Land-Use Change, and Ecosystem Services

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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 | May 28, 2020

Less traffic means 40% drop in car pollution in Seattle but will it last?

Experts say our good air quality this spring is partially due to people driving less. However, they warn that unless big, long-term changes are made, these cleaner skies are not here to stay. From late March through the end of April, car pollution in Seattle dropped by roughly 40 percent compared to the same time…


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 | 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…


Center & Lab

M9

M9 is a new NSF Hazards SEES project (EAR-1331412) bringing together a broad team of University of Washington researchers with the goal of reducing the catastrophic potential of Cascadia megathrust earthquakes on the social, built, and natural environments through research advances in methodologies, warnings, and community planning.

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Funding

MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and…

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News | December 13, 2019

Mapping jet pollution at Sea-Tac airport

Communities underneath and downwind of jets landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are exposed to a type of ultrafine particle pollution that is distinctly associated with aircraft, according to a new University of Washington study that is the first to identify the unique “signature” of aircraft emissions in Washington state. Researchers at the UW Department of Environmental &…


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Marc Eberhard

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Mary Roderick

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Megan Ybarra

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Mike Gomez

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Mike Motley

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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 | 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…


Center & Lab

Natural Hazards Reconnaissance Experimental Facility

To develop more resilient communities, the Natural Hazards Reconnaissance Experimental Facility, funded by an NSF NHERI grant, enables the collection, assessment and archiving of high-quality data in the aftermath of disasters. The facility, which became operational in fall 2018, houses state-of-the art equipment to support the collection of perishable data in the aftermath of earthquakes…

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News | March 10, 2020

New Bill that May Pave the Way for Seattle Seismic Upgrades

Public officials for decades have promised to deal with the old brick buildings in Seattle that could crumble with deadly consequences when a major earthquake hits — and have produced nothing but paper plans. Now some advocates hope a new attempt could at last lead to action. A state bill that could help building owners finance…


News | November 18, 2015

New report outlines Puget Sound region’s future under climate change

The Puget Sound watershed — the area west of the Cascades Mountains that stretches from the state capitol up to the Canadian border — is warming. It also faces rising seas, heavier downpours, larger and more frequent floods, more sediment in its rivers, less snow, and hotter, drier summer streams. A new report by the…


News | May 7, 2019

New study finds Seattle is even less prepared for mega quakes than previously thought

Scientists have found that the shaking likely to be generated by a massive earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone is worse than previously thought—and Seattle’s current building codes aren’t equipped to handle it. The study, which was presented at the 2019 Seismological Society of America Annual Meeting last month, is based on the work of…


News | March 6, 2019

New study shows how exposure to air pollution early in life may lead to autism

Exposure to air pollution, particularly traffic-related air pollution, has previously been linked to autism spectrum disorder in epidemiological studies. And now a new animal study from the University of Washington School of Public Health describes a possible mechanism by which this relationship might occur. The study was published Jan. 16 in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. In…


News | January 30, 2020

New Technique Finds 64 New Chemicals in Puget Sound

The waters of Puget Sound support many species, including mussels, salmon and killer whales. But researchers know that runoff from land in the urbanized areas might contain chemicals that could harm these creatures, even if it’s not always clear which chemicals are the most harmful. Existing methods track specific chemicals of known concern. Until recently, however,…


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…


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Nicole Errett

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Center & Lab

Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center

The mission of the Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center is to deliver science to help fish, wildlife, water, land and people adapt to a changing climate. The goal of the center is to help safeguard the Northwest’s natural and cultural resources by providing managers and policy-makers across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Western Montana with timely,…

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News | September 30, 2019

On the ground in disaster’s wake

From flood-damaged Houston to fire-ravaged Paradise, CA, Nicole Errett’s research takes her into the heart of communities trying to recover after catastrophe strikes. As a disaster researcher and lecturer in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, Errett works with communities struck by hurricanes, floods and other disasters to gather data on how disasters…


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…


Research Beyond UW | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

P-REX

P-REX a research lab focused on environmental problems caused by urbanization, including the design, remediation, and reuse of waste landscapes worldwide. P-REX works to develop non-traditional design solutions to push the boundaries of conventional practice and incorporate resilient thinking into large-scale strategic planning & design.

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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…


Center & Lab

Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

To monitor earthquake and volcanic activity across the Pacific Northwest, the University of Washington and the University of Oregon cooperatively operate the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). The PNSN is sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. Department of Energy, the State of Washington, and the State of Oregon. Beginning in 1969 with…

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Paolo Calvi

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Pedro Arduino

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Penelope Dalton

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Research Beyond UW | University of Pennsylvania

Penn Institute for Urban Research

The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is a university-wide, interdisciplinary institute at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to urban research, education, and civic engagement. Affiliated with all 12 schools of the University of Pennsylvania and with the world of practice, Penn IUR fosters collaboration among scholars and policymakers across disciplines to address the…

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Peter Guttorp

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Center & Lab

Population Health Initiative

The University of Washington aspires to be the world’s leading university in population health. On May 3, 2016, President Ana Mari Cauce launched a groundbreaking Population Health Initiative by inviting the University community and partners to join in developing a 25-year vision to advance the health of people around the world by leveraging capabilities and…

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News | May 5, 2020

Population Health Initiative announces award of 21 COVID-19 rapid response grants

The University of Washington Population Health Initiative announced the award of approximately $350,000 in COVID-19 rapid response grants to 21 different faculty-led teams. These teams are composed of individuals representing 10 different schools and colleges. Funding was partially matched by additional school, college and departmental funds, bringing the total value of these awards to roughly $820,000. “A…


Center & Lab

Program on Climate Change

The Program on Climate Change amplifies the University of Washington’s exceptional range of expertise in climate related fields. Interaction among faculty through PCC activities promotes the integration of existing observational and modeling efforts within and between individual departments, providing a powerful synthesis approach for addressing the problems of climate change. Through courses, events, and planning…

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Scholar

Randy LeVeque

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Map | New York

Rat Sightings in NYC

This map, designed by Meredith Myers, shows where some of those hotspots are. It draws on 311 data, displaying the last 10,000 rat sightings that have been called in to the social services hotline. As you can see, some areas are bright red, with hundreds more reports than nearby neighborhoods.

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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…


Scholar

Richard Conlin

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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…


Funding

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneering Ideas and a Culture of Health

The goal of the Pioneering Ideas Brief Proposal funding opportunity is to explore; to look into the future and put health first as we design for changes in how we live, learn, work and play; to wade into uncharted territory in order to better understand what new trends, opportunities and breakthrough ideas can enable everyone…

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Funding

Rose Foundation – Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund

The Foundation is accepting applications to its Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, which supports community-based efforts to mitigate past pollution runoff and protect or improve the water quality of Puget Sound. The foundation is particularly interested in proposals that benefit water quality in the following areas: the waters of central Puget Sound, especially Elliott…

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News | August 7, 2018

Sammamish Utility first to install earthquake early warning technology

The Northeast Sammamish Water District is trying out earthquake early warning technology at a pumping station that sits on top of a half-million gallons of water. Check the Earthquake Tracker A simulation shows us what would happen if an earthquake were detected by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. “The earthquake has hit, it’s a 7.5…


Scholar

Scott Miles

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News | August 6, 2018

Sea-level rise report contains best projections yet for Washington’s coasts

One certainty under climate change is that global ocean levels are rising. A new report led by Washington Sea Grant and the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group provides the clearest picture yet of what to expect in Washington state. The report includes projections for more than 150 different sites along the Washington coastline, from…


Center & Lab

SeaGrant Washington

Washington Sea Grant (WSG) is a catalyst for innovative marine research and education opportunities. Research is the cornerstone of WSG’s mission to help people to better understand and address the challenges facing our oceans and coasts. As part of a national partnership funded and coordinated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through a…

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Funding

Seattle Foundation

Few regions in the world can match Seattle’s current growth and prosperity. But accompanying our good fortune are great challenges, including the widening disparities between rich and poor. Such inequities weaken the vibrancy of our community. Philanthropy can—and must—step in. Using our philanthropic expertise, deep roots in the community and network of partners, Seattle Foundation…

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News | August 2, 2018

Seattle pilot project planting trees that can adapt to global warming

Seattle City Light and the Mountains to Sound Greenway are planting native trees from warmer climates on 154 acres along Stossel Creek. If Western Washington’s climate warms up in the next half-century, could our trees stand it? As an experiment, Seattle City Light and the Mountains to Sound Greenway have embarked on a test to…


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…


Map | Seattle

Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development GIS

​This interactive GIS map published by Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development makes essential GIS layers easily accessible. A few of the base layers include: building outlines, contours, parcels, pavement edges, and tree canopy cover. Zoning and environmentally critical areas are also highlighted, including layers for areas that are: flood prone, susceptible liquefaction, wetlands, steep…

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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 | 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…


Scholar

Sofia Dermisi

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News | November 25, 2019

Some communities feel the effects of air pollution more than others

Power plants are prolific particulate producers. To generate energy, power plants burn fossil fuels, and the combustion spews gases and fine specks of pollution into the air. Air pollution affects everyone, but experts are now warning that exposure levels can weigh heavier on certain racial and ethnic communities, independent of their income levels. And even…


Scholar

Steven Kramer

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News | March 20, 2019

Study Finds Racial Gap Between Who Causes Air Pollution And Who Breathes It

Pollution, much like wealth, is not distributed equally in the United States. Scientists and policymakers have long known that black and Hispanic Americans tend to live in neighborhoods with more pollution of all kinds, than white Americans. And because pollution exposure can cause a range of health problems, this inequity could be a driver of unequal health outcomes across…


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

Terrie Klinger

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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…


Center & Lab

The Davidson Lab Group

The Davidson lab group is located on Lake Union in the Benjamin Hall Interdisciplinary Research Building and conducts research within the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at the University of Washington. Currently our lab has several ongoing invertebrate microbiology and immunology projects involving the earthworm Eisenia fetida. This common composting worm serves as a model…

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News | July 3, 2019

The health effects of wildfire smoke may last a lifetime

When smoke from California’s deadliest wildfire blew into downtown Sacramento last November, daylight blurred into dusk and the city’s air became among the world’s most polluted. The Camp Fire has long since been extinguished, but the health effects from the tiny particulate matter in the smoke, which penetrates into the lungs and ultimately into the bloodstream, could linger for years….


Research Beyond UW | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Urban Risk Lab

The Urban Risk Lab at MIT develops methods and technologies to embed risk reduction and preparedness into the design of cities and regions to increase the resilience of local communities. Operating at the intersection of ecology and infrastructure, rural and urban, research and action; the Urban Risk Lab is an interdisciplinary organization of researchers and…

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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…


Center & Lab

THINK (Transportation-Human Interaction and Network Knowledge) Lab

The THINK (Transportation-Human Interaction and Network Knowledge) Lab studies the sustainability and resilience of a city through the lens of human beings interacting with the physical environment. We generate new knowledge and insights for use in city planning, infrastructure development and policy design. Our research results facilitate real-time disaster response and recovery efforts. Our work…

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News | January 9, 2020

This is what Seattle’s new neighborhood could look like

Architecture and planning students love to wrestle with big ideas. And while their end-of-the-quarter presentations sometimes include out-of-the-box ideas, they usually don’t have the attention of public officials. But this time was different. Students with the University of Washington Built Environments Studio, taught by Rick Mohler (Architecture) and David Blum (Urban Design and Planning) in…


Scholar

Timothy V. Larson

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Research Beyond UW | University College London

UCL Urban Laboratory

The UCL Urban Laboratory, established in 2005, is a university wide initiative that brings together the best urban teaching and research at UCL. Our activities build on the full spectrum of work across the arts and sciences, ranging from civil engineering to film studies, from urban history to the latest developments in architectural design. At…

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Map | São Paulo

Urban data visualization lab

We design interactive experiences, data analysis, visualization, maps, and cartography, focusing on Brazil and the Amazon.

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Degree Program

Urban Design and Planning (Minor, Cert, MUP, dual MLA-MUP, PhD)

Our core mission is to develop a community of inquiry, learning, and practice that helps urban regions to become more livable, just, economically effective, and environmentally sound through a democratic process of urban design and planning.

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Research Beyond UW | Columbia University

Urban Design Lab

The Urban Design Lab (UDL) of the Earth Institute and GSAPP works to find innovative solutions to the sustainable development issues confronting cities. The UDL conducts multidisciplinary applied design research in collaboration with community-based organizations and other public and private interests. The UDL's team works closely with outside experts in architecture, ecology, economics, environmental science,…

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Center & Lab

Urban Ecology Research Lab

The Urban Ecology Research Laboratory (UERL) is an interdisciplinary team of UW researchers and Ph.D. students studying cities as urban ecosystems. The lab studies urban landscapes as hybrid phenomena that emerge from the interactions between human and ecological processes, and the interactions between urban development and ecosystem dynamics. Specific areas of research include: complexity and…

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News | August 18, 2020

Urban heatwaves are worse for low-income neighborhoods

Temperatures this summer have hit record levels across major cities, such as New York, Houston, Phoenix, Miami, London, Athens, Baghdad, and Qatar. Yesterday, an excessive heat warning was issued for South Central and Southwest Arizona and Southeast California. Climate change is leading to increased severity and frequency of heat waves, sea-level rise, and flooding due to heavy rainfall. These events tend to hurt some groups…


News | February 19, 2020

Urban@UW announces Research Spark Grants

UPDATE: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on academic and research activities, Urban@UW has made the difficult decision to postpone our Spark Grants program. In addition to recognizing the varied strains and hardship our community is experiencing, we want to ensure that new collaborations launch in a context that promotes meeting and…


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 | 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…


Center & Lab

UW Mesoscale Analysis and Forecasting Group

Sponsored by the Northwest Modeling Consortium, we have run the MM5 and now WRF mesoscale models operationally at high resolution since 1995. Currently, the WRF is run at 36 km horizontal resolution over the eastern Pacific, 12 km over the Pacific Northwest, 4 km over Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and 1.3 km over Washington, northern…

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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 | May 10, 2018

Vikram Prakash’s ‘ArchitectureTalk’ podcast explores topics ‘at the edge of the known’

Vikram Prakash says his weekly “ArchitectureTalk” podcast got its start, as many things do, from a student’s idea. Prakash is a professor of architecture in the University of Washington College of Built Environments. An architect himself, he is also an author, a theorist and an architectural historian. He said he has always felt “energized” by discussions in…


Map | Mumbai Nairobi New York São Paulo Seattle

Visualizing Cities – An Open Platform

Visualization as a tool for analysis, exploration and communication has become a driving force in the task of unravelling the complex urban fabrics that form our cities. This platform tries to bring together urban visualization projects from around the globe.

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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 | December 18, 2015

Weekly Recap 12/12-12/18

A few of the highlights in Urban news for the past week: 195 nations reached a landmark accord that will, for the first time, commit nearly every country to lowering planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions to help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/europe/climate-change-accord-paris.html UW announces new Master of Science in Data Science…


News | June 4, 2020

West Seattle Bridge is a surprise crisis, but plenty of other aging Seattle bridges are also vulnerable

In January, if West Seattle commuters caught in a bottleneck had gazed out the window at their high bridge and wondered about its safety, a look at federal bridge ratings may have calmed their nerves. The bridge was labeled sufficient. In a catchall rating out of 100, it had a respectable 69. By the spring,…


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…


News | November 9, 2018

What would happen in Seattle during a large-magnitude earthquake?

If a large-magnitude earthquake were to hit Seattle, what percentage of buildings would be safe? This listener question was posed to Jeff Berman, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the UW.   Continue to listen to the Radio broadcast


News | September 16, 2019

Where there’s wildfire, there’s smoke. Protecting ‘clean-air refugees.’

Summer in Seattle offers a luminous respite from the rest of the year. The clouds depart and carry away the rains as the sky shades cobalt blue and the sun casts golden light from Puget Sound to Mount Rainier. The city feels liberated. Or so residents recall of an earlier time. In the past decade,…


News | September 22, 2020

Wildfire smoke disproportionally harms poorer communities, remedies necessary to address health inequity

With most of the Northwest blanketed by wildfire smoke, public officials and health experts suggest staying inside as much as possible to reduce exposure to the significant health risks of wildfire smoke. However, inequity in our communities means not every home provides great protection and many workers in disadvantaged populations can’t afford to stay home, says Anjum Hajat,…


News | February 22, 2019

With climate change, what will your city’s weather feel like in 60 years?

Within your child or grandchild’s lifetime, the weather may be dramatically different because of climate change. The past five years have already been the hottest on record for our planet, but based on new projections published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, it’s going to get a lot hotter for the 250 million people living in…


News | April 14, 2020

With more people staying home, Washington skies are cleaner

Since the coronavirus pandemic sent Washingtonians indoors to help flatten the curve of infection, Seattleites who open a window or venture outside for socially distanced nature therapy swear something’s different in the air. “It’s for sure much cleaner,” says lifelong Seattle resident Cathryn Stenson, who has been walking through nearby parks more than normal to take…