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Natural Resources & Environment

News | November 23, 2016

‘You can’t escape’: Clouds of filth are choking Asia’s cities

The winter air in Tehran is often foul but for six days last week it was hardly breathable. A dense and poisonous chemical smog made up of traffic and factory fumes, mixed with construction dust, burning vegetation and waste has shrouded buildings, choked pedestrians, forced schools and universities to close, and filled the hospitals. Anyone…


News | December 12, 2019

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

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


News | August 1, 2019

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

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


News | 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 | June 17, 2019

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

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


News | July 31, 2019

4.6 earthquake shakes Seattle region, no damage reported

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


News | March 7, 2019

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

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


News | May 5, 2020

A timber-based building method draws praise, and skeptics

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


Degree Program

Advanced Practice Environmental and Occupational Health (Cert)

The Advanced Practice Environmental and Occupational Health (APEOH) graduate certificate is open to current graduate students or post-master’s professionals in any discipline who wish to develop advanced skills and expertise in environmental and occupational health nursing. More than a quarter of the global disease burden is attributable to environmental exposures, with children bearing a disproportionate…

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Research Beyond UW | University of Cape Town

African Centre for Cities

The African Centre for Cities (ACC) is an interdisciplinary research and teaching programme focused on quality scholarship regarding the dynamics of unsustainable urbanisation processes in Africa, with an eye on identifying systemic responses. Rapid and poorly governed urbanization in Africa points to a profound developmental and philosophical crisis. Most scholarship focuses on the development challenges…

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News | August 6, 2020

After three decades, most polluted U.S. neighborhoods haven’t changed

If your neighborhood was among the most polluted in 1981, it probably still is. Likewise, the least polluted areas are still faring the best, according to a study published on Thursday in the journal Science that analyzed concentrations of fine particulate matter over more than three decades in the United States. Overall, pollution from fine…


News | February 18, 2020

Air Pollution Crosses Borders

Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York State’s Adirondack Park, offers breathtaking views to hikers on a clear day. But despite being hundreds of miles from the nearest smokestack, summer air pollution levels here can sometimes be worse than in Times Square in New York City. “Often you’re going to feel lung burn in…


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…


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Ali Modarres

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Alison Duvall

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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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Amoshaun Toft

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Amy Kim

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Amy Snover

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News | July 6, 2018

An interactive ‘storymap’ of trees in South King County

If a tree falls in the course of urban development and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? A new art project based in South King County aims to ensure the answer is yes — and the sound is a cacophony of arboreal anecdotes. “My goal is to create a…


News | August 16, 2018

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

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


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Andrew Prindle

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Ann Bostrom

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Anne Vernez-Moudon

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Aqueduct: Measuring and Mapping Water Risk (World Resources Institute)

Water scarcity is one of the defining issues of the 21st century. In its Global Risks 2013 report, the World Economic Forum identified water supply crises as one of the highest impact and most likely risks facing the planet. With the support of a diverse group of partners, the World Resources Institute built Aqueduct to…

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Research Beyond UW | University of Virginia

Arctic Design Group

“The Arctic extends over an area of about 5.5 million square miles and includes 8 nations. For centuries it has been understood as vast, and almost mythical frozen realm. But increasingly, the dual forces of climate change and globalization are combining to rapidly transform the region. With increasing temperature, retreating sea ice, the opening up…

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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…


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Aseem Prakash

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Research Beyond UW | Columbia University

Asian Megacities Lab

Over the next 25 years, it is projected that China will account for 50% of the world’s new construction. The majority of this construction will occur in existing cities or newly formed urban areas. It is the mission of the Asia Megacities Lab to become actively engaged with this rapid urbanization and spatial production occurring…

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News | September 2, 2016

August Sees New Grants, Project Launches, and Original Research and Writing

August was a busy month at the University of Washington and the Seattle region when it comes to urban research, writing, and project launches. Take a look at what’s been happening. Urban@UW will be running a half-day workshop as part of the Eighth International Conference on Social Informatics (SocInfo 2016.) Our workshop seeks to bring…


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…


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Ben Packard

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Bill Bender

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Bill Estes

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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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News | July 25, 2017

Birds versus buildings: Rural structures pose greater relative threat than urban ones

About one billion birds are killed every year when they unwittingly fly into human-made objects such as buildings with reflective windows. Such collisions are the largest unintended human cause of bird deaths worldwide — and they are a serious concern for conservationists. A new paper published in June in the journal Biological Conservation finds that,…


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Bob Mugerauer

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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 Collins

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Brian Gerich

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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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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 | January 9, 2019

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

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


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Carbon Leadership Forum

The Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) is an industry-academic collaborative research effort. CLF is working to link the rigor of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) based carbon accounting to industry best practices in order to enable quantifiable reduction to the environmental impact of the built environment. Its research is focused on developing the data, analysis, and standards…

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Catherine De Almeida

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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…


Research Beyond UW | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Center for Advanced Urbanism

The Center for Advanced Urbanism is committed to fostering a rigorous design culture for the large scale; by focusing our disciplinary conversations about architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and systems thinking, not about the problems of yesterday, but of tomorrow. We are motivated by the radical changes in our environment, and the role that design…

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Center for Clean Air Research

The University of Washington Center for Clear Air Research (UW CCAR) is focused on the cardiovascular health effects of near-roadway pollution, a complex mixture of components that come from vehicle emissions and the road surface, and vary by physical aging, atmospheric conditions, and photochemical reactions. UW CCAR is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.…

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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 Creative Conservation

The Center for Creative Conservation was launched in Fall 2015 with an initial investment from the College of the Environment to spark innovation and collaboration in conservation. The Center fosters creativity in conservation by hosting a variety of events and programs. In all of our work, we intend to learn and adopt innovative methods from…

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Center for Environmental Politics

Our mission is to play a leadership role in producing and disseminating empirical social science research on new modes of environmental politics and governance at local, regional, national, and global levels. Within the University of Washington, we facilitate faculty and graduate students to build connections, establish networks, and initiate truly multi‐disciplinary conversations about the political…

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Center for Global Field Study

To facilitate and provide field-based educational, research, and outreach opportunities for students and professionals from the University of Washington and partnering institutions around the world in areas relating to global health and the environment at the human-environment interface.

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Center for Global Studies

The mission of the Center for Global Studies is to foster language excellence, international studies expertise, and global literacy among students, educators, and the public in local, national, and international contexts. We support interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate curricular programs across the University and our faculty and staff represent expertise in almost all areas of the…

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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 Integrated Design

The mission of the Center for Integrated Design is to discover solutions that overcome the most difficult building performance barriers, and to meet the building industry’s goals of moving towards radically higher performing buildings and healthy urban environments. The Center for Integrated Design, composed of the Integrated Design Lab and the Discovery Commons, builds knowledge…

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Center for Urban Horticulture

The Center for Urban Horticulture, opened in 1984, is now part of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens. It includes a 16-acre landscaped site with buildings and gardens, and the 74-acre Union Bay Natural Area, which provides publicly accessible wildlife habitat (more than 200 bird species have been sighted there) and an outdoor laboratory for…

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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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Research Beyond UW | University of Toronto

Centre for Urban & Community Studies

The Centre for Urban and Community Studies (CUCS) was established in 1964 to promote and disseminate multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on urban issues. The Centre's activities contributed to scholarship on questions relating to the social, economic and physical well-being of people who live and work in urban areas large and small, in Canada and…

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Research Beyond UW | University of London

Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR)

CUCR is a well established interdisciplinary research centre within Goldsmiths' Department of Sociology with a distinguished history of collaboration with local communities and activists. It combines theoretical investigation with critical ‘local’ project implementation from Deptford to Jakarta. From its inception in 1994 as the academic partner in Deptford City Challenge regeneration initiatives, CUCR maintains a…

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Research Beyond UW | University of York

Centre for Urban Research and Innovations

The Centre for Urban Research seeks to be a critical observatory, tracking important changes and developments in urban and regional economies, societies and environments in order to identify and examine the issues likely to become key challenges in the near future. A program of frequent events provide forums for diverse communities, policy-makers and academic colleagues…

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Charles Wolfe

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Chris Hellstern

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Christine Bae

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Christopher Dunagan

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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 | 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 9, 2018

Cities, scientists unite in battle against climate change at U.N. summit

Climate scientists and city planners are to start charting a global roadmap on how cities can best battle climate change, when they gather at a U.N.-backed summit in Canada’s Edmonton on Monday. The three day gathering marks the first time cities rather than nations are offered a seat at the table of the Intergovernmental Panel…


News | July 30, 2020

Cities’ summer challenge: Keep people cool while keeping COVID-19 at bay

In the age of social distancing and other efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, cities are grappling with whether to encourage vulnerable populations to leave their homes during extreme heat and congregate under a communal air-conditioning system or stay home and hope that the summer heat doesn’t make them sick. “It’s a hard time…


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…


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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Degree Program

Civil and Environmental Engineering (PhD)

Students in the UW CEE Ph.D. program work closely with distinguished faculty on research and pursue their own innovative projects, preparing them to make a difference in the world. Students who pursue Ph.D. degrees often obtain high-level jobs in industry or go on to work in academia. Students focus their studies on one of the…

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Clare Ryan

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Center & Lab

Clean Energy Institute

CEI’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of a scalable clean energy future that will improve the health and economy of our state, nation, and world. To accomplish this mission, CEI supports the advancement of next-generation solar energy and battery materials and devices, as well as their integration with systems and the grid. The institute…

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Cleo Woelfle-Erskine

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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 | February 6, 2020

Climate Change Modeling can help Plan the Future of Land Conservation

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


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Climate Impacts Group (CIG)

The Climate Impacts Group (CIG) is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary research group studying the impacts of natural climate variability and global climate change (“global warming”). Research at the CIG considers climate impacts at spatial scales ranging from local communities to the entire western U.S. region, with most work focused on the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Through…

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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…


Degree Program

Community, Environment & Planning (BA)

Community, Environment, and Planning is a self-directed, diverse undergraduate major comprised of students, faculty, and staff engaged in holistic growth and a collaborative process of experiential and interdisciplinary learning. In our major, we develop skills, techniques, and knowledge necessary to be active leaders and conscientious planners in our communities and environments. Our values are presented…

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News | January 23, 2020

Considering wood as a sustainable building material

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


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…


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Craig W. Thomas

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Dan Jaffe

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Daniel Schindler

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Daniel Vogt

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Daniel Winterbottom

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Dave Montgomery

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David Butman

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David Stokes

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News | December 31, 2016

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

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


Funding

Department of Defense – National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Academic Research Program

The NGA mission is to provide timely, relevant, and accurate geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) in support of national security objectives. GEOINT is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth.

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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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Diana Pearce

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News | December 24, 2020

Did COVID lockdowns really clear the air?

The early days of the Covid-19 lockdowns were seen as an environmental marvel. With fewer commuters and empty highways, residents of cities from Los Angeles to New Delhi witnessed clear blue skies and mountain views that had long been obscured by smog. The dramatic atmospheric transformation was one of first of the “silver linings” that the coronavirus…


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…


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Discovery Commons

The Discovery Commons connects its discoveries and the transformative knowledge of others to the building industry and public through educational programs and other offerings – including classes, workshops, focus-group meetings, leadership forums Bullitt Center Tours, and exhibits of breakthrough technologies. The Discovery Commons aims to transform the market for the highest performing buildings by reaching…

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Disease Investigation through Specialized Clinically Oriented Ventures in Environmental Research

The University of Washington’s DISCOVER center studies the mechanistic relationship between cardiovascular disease and traffic related air pollution. The study is composed of five closely linked projects that explore this relationship through a diverse set of research approaches. Our ultimate mission is to transfer the findings of the center rapidly into the development of improved…

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News | April 22, 2020

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

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


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…


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Elaine Faustman

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Eliot Brenowitz

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Center & Lab

Energy & Sustainability in Construction (ESC) Lab

The ESC lab promotes energy efficiency and sustainability (EES) in the built environment through the development of sustainable design and construction practices and risk-based financial models for EES investments. We aim to integrate advanced financial analysis, project development, and management strategies used during the delivery of energy-efficient buildings and sustainable infrastructures. With this work, ESC…

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Degree Program

Environmental Engineering (BS)

Environmental engineers work to both safeguard and improve the quality of the environment. By utilizing a combination of both scientific and engineering principles, environmental engineers work to protect the world and its people from negative environmental impacts caused by both natural and human activities. The work of environmental engineers is increasingly important, as healthy environments…

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Degree Program

Environmental Health (BS, minor, MS, PhD, MPH)

The University of Washington’s Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health is a great fit for students who love science, and who are passionate about using their scientific skills to address human health issues related to the built and natural environments. Environmental Health is designated as a STEM discipline (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) by the…

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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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Degree Program

Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management (BS, minor)

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

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Degree Program

Environmental Studies (BA, minor)

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

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Eric Higbee

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Erin Wirth

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Ernesto Alvarado Celestin

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Center & Lab

Evans School Policy Analysis & Research Group (EPAR)

Established in 2008, the Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group (EPAR) uses an innovative student-faculty team model to provide rigorous, applied research and analysis to international development stakeholders. EPAR has prepared more than 300 technical reports and briefs including: statistical data analysis and research, literature reviews and analysis, and portfolio analysis and strategy support.…

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News | September 19, 2016

Expand the frontiers of urban sustainability

Manhattan skyscrapers, rather than rustic rural towns, are quickly becoming the picture of sustainable living in the twenty-first century. San Francisco, Copenhagen and Singapore each top their regions in the Green City Index. As sites of innovation and economic dynamism, these places exemplify a blend of density and livability that large, prosperous cities in the…


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…


News | March 16, 2017

First UW Livable City Year project reports delivered to the City of Auburn

Teams of University of Washington students have been working throughout this academic year on livability and sustainability projects in the City of Auburn. The yearlong Livable City Year partnership has given students a chance to work on real-world challenges identified by Auburn, while providing Auburn with tens of thousands of hours of study and student…


Funding

Ford Foundation

We believe in the inherent dignity of all people. Yet around the world, billions of people are excluded from full participation in the political, economic, and cultural systems that shape their lives. We view this fundamental inequality as the defining challenge of our time, one that limits the potential of all people, everywhere. Addressing inequality…

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News | June 13, 2018

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

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


Scholar

Frank Gonzalez

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Fritz Wagner

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Gary Handwerk

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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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Giovanni Migliaccio

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News | March 20, 2018

Giving Voice, Being Seen: Community Agency and Design Action in a Time of Climate Change, April 26

Climate change affects everyone, but it does not impact all communities equally. These differences may be most evident in the built environment and the shared spaces such as parks, streets, schools, homes, which we experience and move through daily. In seeking to inspire more collaborative, inclusive and creative responses to climate change in the built…


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…


News | October 22, 2019

Global climate action motivates King County Council push for zero-emissions public transit by 2035

Back when King County first began to test electric buses in 2016, officials hoped to build a “zero-emission fleet” by 2040. But recent activism calling for aggressive measures to cut carbon emissions — especially from Indigenous demonstrators and students — has helped push forward proposed legislation that aims to accelerate that transition to 2035. Cities that truly aim for zero-emissions status…


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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Gordon Bradley

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Center & Lab

Green Futures Lab

The Green Futures Lab mission is to support interdisciplinary research and design that advances our understanding of, visions for, and design of a vital and ecologically sustainable public realm. Apply Green Futures research and designs to policy develop potential urban green infrastructure solutions within Seattle and the Pacific Northwest region and work with the University…

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Degree Program

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Design and Management (Cert)

Expand your technical skills with training in green infrastructure practices that improve water quality by using the natural environment, soil and vegetation to reduce pollution caused by untreated stormwater entering our waterways. Study sustainable strategies, such as low impact development and urban retrofits, that reduce stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflow and water demand. Explore the…

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Gregory Hicks

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News | June 26, 2015

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

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


News | February 27, 2020

Health and Well-Being Linked to Wilderness in Urban Parks

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


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Hedwig E. Lee

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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….


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 | June 22, 2018

How do aliens solve climate change?

The universe does many things. It makes galaxies, comets, black holes, neutron stars, and a whole mess more. We’ve lately discovered that it makes a great deal of planets, but it’s not clear whether it regularly makes energy-hungry civilizations, nor is it clear whether such civilizations inevitably drive their planets into climate change. There’s lots…


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 | August 12, 2019

How nature can improve your family’s mental health

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


News | May 23, 2018

How Seattle’s appetite for construction is creating a growing waste problem

The sun has barely burned the fog off Lake Washington as Noel Stout, standing near the water’s edge, peers at a heavy wooden trellis suspended 20 feet above a concrete backyard patio. He’s rigged a system of ropes and pulleys to the cedar latticework, which just yesterday supported a deck with a sweeping view across…


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…


News | August 1, 2019

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

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


Center & Lab

Human Dimensions of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening

In urbanized settings, the lives of people are intertwined with natural environments and urban ecosystems. Traditional ecological science has, for the most part, not included human behavior as an integral study. This research program is exploring how people in cities and communities benefit from being involved in environmental projects, how urban ecosystems benefit communities, and…

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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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News | November 15, 2018

Hydropower to become unsustainable as climate changes

Large hydropower dams will become a less sustainable source of renewable energy as the climate changes, especially in the developing world, according to a report released Nov. 5. Unpredictable weather extremes, especially severe climate-driven droughts, are likely to reduce the dams’ ability to generate electricity, concluded the Michigan State University study. To avoid unreliable power generation,…


Scholar

Hyun Woo “Chris” Lee

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Iain Robertson

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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 8, 2018

In a concrete jungle, one architect pushes for plywood for giants

Timber is coming back in the Northwest. I don’t mean old growth forests. Those have been holding steady for a couple of decades.I mean architecture. Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is a material a true modernist can love — and not just for furniture and finishes. It’s very strong, and too beautiful to hide inside walls….


News | February 5, 2018

In orlando, america’s theme park capital, low income black residents can’t breathe the air

The struggle for environmental justice in low-income and Black communities continues. This is most certainly the case in Orlando, Florida. In the heart of one of the premier tourist destinations in the United States, the theme park capital of America, the residents of a historically Black community are having trouble breathing due to air pollution…


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…


News | March 31, 2020

In the coronavirus crisis, who gets to be outside?

As the first weekend of spring began, nearly 100 million Americans had just been ordered to stay home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Even the most stringent stay-at-home orders in the U.S. currently allow people to go outside, which is providing multitudinous benefits in this time of great uncertainty. Taking a short walk, roll,…


Center & Lab

Informal Urban Communities Initiatives

The Informal Urban Communities Initiatives (IUCI) is a design activism, research and education program based in Peru and expanding to Nepal this coming year. It focuses on the design, implementation and assessment of community-driven interventions in the built environment and places particular emphasis on the integrated, interdisciplinary design of distributed infrastructure and public space. The…

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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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Research Beyond UW | University of California, Berkeley

Institute of Urban and Regional Development

Through collaborative, interdisciplinary research and practice, Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) supports students, faculty, and visiting scholars to critically investigate and help improve processes and outcomes that shape urban equity around the world. "The future of IURD will be to position itself as a global leader in research and policy that aims 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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News | January 8, 2020

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

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


News | October 27, 2016

Jacqui Patterson: A Brief Annotated Reading List

Jacqueline Patterson is a preeminent researcher and activist in the field of environmental and climate justice. Patterson is one of UW’s 2016 Walker-Ames endowed speakers, and special guest at the upcoming symposium, Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change. Urban@UW has compiled a brief reading list to help contextualize Patterson’s work: Gulf Oil…


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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Scholar

Jan Newton

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Jan Whittington

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Jeff Berman

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Jeffery Cordell

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Jeffrey Ottesen

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Jen Davison

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Jess Hamilton

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Jill Sterrett

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Jim Nicholls

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Joe Casola

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John Marzluff

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Jonathan Mayer

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Joshua Lawler

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Judith A. Howard

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News | February 22, 2017

Julian Agyeman: A Brief Reading List

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


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Julian Marshall

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Julian Marshall

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Julian Olden

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Julie M. Johnson

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Julie Parrett

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Kate Simonen

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Kelly Edwards

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Ken Yocom

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Kerstin Rowell

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Kessie Alexandre

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Kevin Laverty

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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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News | June 19, 2017

Lake Union building earns awards for energy savings

Henbart LLC announced recently that a year-long study led by the University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab confirmed that upgrading to View® Dynamic Glass technology in the Lake Union Building significantly saved energy and improved the tenant experience. The report verified annual energy savings of 17.7 percent or 351,604 kWh – roughly $28,000 a year…


Center & Lab

Lake Union Lab

Lake Union Laboratory (LULab) is a collaboratory research project created to explore the overlapping and interdependent social, environmental, economic and technological dynamics of the city, specifically the Lake Union area of Seattle, Washington. This project serves as a means to investigate how multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary models of research can build on the foundations of explorations…

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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…


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Laure Heland

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Leanne Do

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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…


Scholar

Lillian J. Ratliff

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LInda Nash

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News | February 27, 2020

Links Between Weather in Seattle and Bali

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


Scholar

Lisa Graumlich

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News | October 2, 2018

Livable City Year and Tacoma finalize partnership

Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, 349 University of Washington students and 26 UW faculty members worked with staff and community members from the City of Tacoma on projects to advance livability and sustainability in the city. The year-long partnership between Tacoma and UW Livable City Year (LCY) provided the city with university resources to tackle…


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…


Scholar

Liz Browning

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LuAnne Thompson

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Lucy Jarosz

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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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Mackenzie Waller

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Makie Suzuki

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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 &…


Scholar

Maria Taylor

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Marina Alberti

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Martha Groom

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Megan Ybarra

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Map | Melbourne

Melbourne Urban Forest

The City of Melbourne maintains more than 70,000 trees. This website enables you to explore this dataset and some of the challenges facing Melbourne’s Urban Forest.

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News | August 29, 2019

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

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


Research Beyond UW | Virginia Tech

Metropolitan Institute

The Metropolitan Institute conducts basic and applied research on the dynamics of metropolitan complexities, such as demographics, environment, technology, design, transportation, and governance. With most of the globe’s population moving to urbanized areas, the major public policy challenges of this century will require a deeper understanding of how metropolitan complexities play out across multiple jurisdictions,…

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Michael Lewis

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Michael T. Brett

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News | August 1, 2016

Midsummer in Full Swing, A July Recap

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


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Mike Gomez

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Miles Logsdon

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Ming-Yi Tsai

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Degree Program

Minor in Urban Ecological Design

The Department of Landscape Architecture’s focus on Urban Ecological Design. This design practice integrates site, landscape, and people in a way that is functional, artful, and engaging. Urban Ecological Design is an interdisciplinary approach that addresses emerging local, regional, and global issues in five key areas: (1) design as activism, (2) design for ecological infrastructure,…

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Monika Moskal

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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…


Degree Program

MS in Civil Engineering: Energy Infrastructure

The country’s existing energy systems are transforming at a rapid pace, driven by technological advances and factors such as the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. The new online Master of Science in Civil Engineering: Energy Infrastructure program, offered by the University of Washington, prepares you for the growing opportunities in this field. This engineering…

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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 Rivenburgh

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Nancy Rottle

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News | August 15, 2016

New book ‘Cities that Think Like Planets’ imagines urban regions resilient to change

Marina Alberti is a professor in the Department of Urban Design and Planning, which is part of the University of Washington College of Built Environments. Alberti directs the college’s Urban Ecology Research Laboratory and the Graduate School’s interdisciplinary doctoral program in urban design and planning. She answered some questions about her new book, “Cities that…


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 26, 2017

New Seattle seawall aims to improve waterfront salmon habitat

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


News | July 14, 2016

New Tech Could Restore Some Quiet To Noisy Oceans

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


News | January 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 | January 5, 2017

New wood technology may offer hope for struggling timber

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


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…


Scholar

Nicole DeNamur

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Nicole Errett

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Nives Dolšak

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Center & Lab

Northwest Center for Livable Communities

The mission of the Northwest Center is to enhance the livability of communities in the Pacific Northwest through applied research and outreach in the areas of land use planning, policy, and design; healthy communities; food security; and public participation and democracy. It is a research and policy center focused on issues of environmental and economic…

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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 | June 26, 2015

Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing: PNNL & UW presented by Thom Dunning

Presented at June 1st Urban@UW Launch Meeting


Center & Lab

NW Climate Science Center

The Northwest Climate Science Center(NW CSC) combines academic expertise with federal resources to advance climate science development and delivery for managers and policy makers in the Northwest region. The NW CSC’s vision is:To become nationally recognized as a best-practice model for the provision of climate science and decision support tools to address conservation and management…

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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 | August 10, 2017

Opportunity abounds as Washington builds the modern electricity grid

The Horn Rapids Solar, Storage, and Training Project—which would be the largest solar installation in Washington, and one of a relative few anywhere with a significant amount of energy storage incorporated—embodies a long chain of public and private sector efforts that have positioned the state, and the broader Pacific Northwest, as a leader in the…


News | September 5, 2019

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

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


News | April 3, 2020

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

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


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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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News | May 14, 2020

Pandemic gardens satisfy a hunger for more than just good tomatoes

Jennifer Atkinson is a senior lecturer in environmental studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell, and the author of Gardenland: Nature, Fantasy and Everyday Practice. She says she’d get a flurry of responses to her blog posts about pandemic gardening, but she really got interested when she started…


News | December 10, 2019

Park it, trucks: Here come New York’s cargo bikes

Delivery trucks and vans laden with online packages are putting a stranglehold on New York City streets and filling its air with pollutants. Now a new city program aims to replace some of these delivery vehicles with a transportation mode that is more environmentally friendly and does not commandeer street space: electric cargo bikes. It…


News | September 16, 2016

PARK(ing) Day+ and Little Collective’s “Bees and Salmon”

Today you may notice some new public spaces in your neighborhood; but look fast, because they will be gone by Sunday. Now a global phenomenon, PARK(ing) day is a few hours per year when cities endeavor to convert city spaces into public places called parklets. The parklet’s origins are tied to ReBar, a San Francisco…


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Patrick Christie

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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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News | September 19, 2017

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

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


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Peter Kahn

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Peter Rabinowitz

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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…


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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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News | March 15, 2019

PSU takes on regional sustainability with the Emerald Corridor Collaboratory

Last year,  the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University joined a regional pilot project called the Emerald Corridor Collaboratory that aims to do just that by joining four universities and four Pacific Northwest cities in a quest for better, more effective partnerships. Funded by a $100,000 grant from the Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation, the Emerald Corridor Collaboratory…


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Randy LeVeque

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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…


News | January 16, 2020

Regularly immersing yourself in nature can help health and wellbeing

How long does it take to get a dose of nature high enough to make people say they feel healthy and have a strong sense of well-being? Precisely 120 minutes. In a study of 20,000 people, a team led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at University of Exeter,…


News | January 8, 2016

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

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


News | May 7, 2020

Rethinking the needs of a post-pandemic city

What will the future city look like after the pandemic? As political leaders around the country debate when to safely reopen the economy, city planners and designers have been pondering the implications of the pandemic for the future design of cities. Some suggest reducing urban density, while others predict a second wave of “white flight”…


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Richard Conlin

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Richard Hartlage

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Richard Keil

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Richard Watts

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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…


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Rob Peña

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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…


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Sandy Fischer

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Sara Curran

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Sara Jo Breslow

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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…


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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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Seana Davidson

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News | July 30, 2020

Searching for climate and inequity hot spots, by car

Fifteen cars with blue snorkels jutting up from their passenger windows drove around King County on Monday, the hottest day the Seattle area has seen in 2020. Volunteer drivers crisscrossed roads from Shoreline to Enumclaw. Their odd window attachments were used to record temperature and humidity measurements every second. Shortly after sunrise, when the city’s…


News | July 9, 2020

Seattle arose from a tortuously transformed Duwamish River

When we think of waters that define Seattle, which ones come to mind? Puget Sound and Elliott Bay, with Lake Washington and Lake Union close behind. Perhaps Green Lake. Don’t forget the Lake Washington Ship Canal. But what about the seemingly invisible Duwamish River, harnessed (some say ravaged) beyond original recognition and poisoned beyond palatability? Shouldn’t…


News | November 19, 2020

Seattle could become the next 15-minute city

A growing number of politicians, urban planners and climate experts believes that 15 minutes is roughly the maximum amount of time city dwellers should spend getting to basic needs — without having to resort to a car. In the so-called “15-minute city,” nutritious food, libraries, health care, parks, cafés and other amenities should be within a short walk, bike ride or roll…


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 | May 17, 2019

Seattle port could play key role in race to rule the Arctic

In the 1890s, Seattle was the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush. As countries eye the warming Arctic in a 21st century rush to establish maritime trade routes and exploit natural resources, Puget Sound is once again poised to serve a vital support role. That, at least, is the vision that U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of…


News | June 24, 2019

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

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


News | October 22, 2020

Seattle’s charming new waterfront park on Portage Bay officially opens

While the weather might be a bit gusty and chilly, Seattleites have a quaint new waterfront park to explore this weekend for fall colors and launch their kayaks next spring. Fritz Hedges Waterway Park officially opened Wednesday and includes a kayak launch point, pier, small beach and picnic area. The 3.5-acre park sits adjacent to the Sakuma Viewpoint and…


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 | October 24, 2019

Seattle’s treasured P-Patch community gardens face uncertain future

Have you stumbled on a P-Patch community garden in your neighborhood? These beehives of gardening and community populate every corner of Seattle. Both the gardens and the people are as diverse as the neighborhoods they serve. From sprawling production farms to tiny lots, each provides a green respite, an open and interactive space. To those…


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…


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Seung-Jin Lee

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Shannon Harper

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Sharon E. Sutton

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Shawn Stankewich

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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…


Research Beyond UW | Harvard University

Social Agency Lab

The Social Agency Lab is a research group at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. The lab studies the ways in which individuals, institutions and organizations shape social outcomes in cities.

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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…


News | October 16, 2018

Something’s killing coho salmon in Seattle, and car tires are a prime suspect

When autumn rains return to western Washington, so do coho salmon. But in many of the creeks they swim up, something in the water leaves fishes gasping for air. They die quickly, before they manage to spawn. A new study points at chemicals from tiny bits of car tires as a prime suspect in the…


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Soo-Hyung Kim

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Stephen M. Gardiner

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Stevan Harrell

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Steve Muench

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Steven Walters

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Map | Seattle

Stewardship Mapping in the Seattle Area

The goal of stewardship mapping in the Seattle area is to reveal the impacts of environmental stewardship by identifying and mapping all participating organizations. What kinds of organizations participate in environmental stewardship? Where do they work? How do they work together?

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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 | September 8, 2020

Study provides way to more accurately measure impact of COVID-19 response on air pollution

Stay-at-home orders issued in Seattle in response to COVID-19 led to a significant drop in some of the most harmful air pollutants to human health, according to a novel method used by the University of Washington School of Public Health. The researchers developed a new method to account for any differences in weather conditions –…


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…


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Susan M. Bolton

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Map | Berlin

Swimming in Berlin

This map of Berlin charts: lakes, bathing sites, nature, BVG bus stops, outdoor swimming pools, indoor swimming pools, and dog bathing sites

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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 | September 26, 2019

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

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


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Terrie Klinger

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Research Beyond UW | University College of London

The Bartlett Development Planning Unit

The Development Planning Unit conducts world-leading research and postgraduate teaching that helps to build the capacity of national governments, local authorities, NGOs, aid agencies and businesses working towards socially just and sustainable development in the global south. We are part of The Bartlett: UCL's global faculty of the built environment.

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Center & Lab

The Biofuels and Bioproducts Laboratory

The Biofuels and Bioproducts Laboratory is interested in all aspects of the bioconversion of lignocellulosic material to biofuels and bioproducts. We work with many types of biomass, from wood waste to agricultural residues (wheat straw, sugarcane bagasse) to energy crops (Giant reed, Arundo donax). By utilizing plant biomass that is either of low value for…

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The Cities Collaboratory

The Cities Collaboratory is a transdisciplinary research and teaching laboratory for the study of multiple dimensions of cities and urban processes. Based at the University of Washington, the Cities Collab seeks to challenge the way that cities are understood and reimagined as they meet twenty-first century challenges. Cities have long served as sites and agents…

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Research Beyond UW | Queen Mary University of London

The City Centre

In 2006, the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London, launched a new centre for collaborative research and related activities that are focused on the city. The City Centre is designed to provide a space in which academic research can be developed and communicated with those within and beyond the academy. Particular interests…

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News | March 23, 2017

The creation of the Burke-Gilman Trail

On Sunday, Sept. 12, 1971, hundreds of people began marching toward Matthews Beach Park along the shores of Lake Washington north of Sand Point. Families, couples, adults and senior citizens converged on the park in two streams – one from the south, one from the north. They marched there that sunny late-summer afternoon along old…


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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 | January 20, 2021

The environmental psychology of COVID-19 with Professor Lynne Manzo

We are living through a new reality, adjusting to life during a global pandemic. We are all changing our routines, our travel plans, our holiday traditions. For those of us who have been able to keep our jobs through this economic crash, we have had to adapt to a new working environment, working from our…


Funding

The Funders’ Network: Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Partners for Places, an initiative of The Funders' Network, enhances local capacity to build equitable and sustainable communities in the United States and Canada. These grants support the planning and implementing of green stormwater infrastructure. Water directors of a city, county, or utility and one or more place-based foundations are eligible to apply. For Round…

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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….


News | November 18, 2019

The law that’s helping fuel Delhi’s deadly air pollution

Another cloud of choking smoke and dust is set to descend upon the 20 million residents of Delhi this week, with forecasters warning that air pollution is likely to reach “severe” or “emergency” levels on Wednesday. The dangerous, dirty air is arising from a mix of weather conditions, urban emissions, and rural smoke converging over India’s capital…


News | November 18, 2020

The pandemic changed our daily routines. Here’s how that’s impacting mental health, productivity and the environment

Few people think about the impact their daily routine has on themselves, or even the planet. But the small actions — from what you eat for breakfast to how you commute to work — are having an effect. Urban Design and Planning doctoral student Xiao Shi has long been interested in the small and large impacts of people’s…


News | October 24, 2019

The potential of green urban planning for mental health

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


Research Beyond UW | University of Calgary

The Urban Lab

THE URBAN LAB, Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary is a research group dealing with urban design, community planning, and urban development issues. Established in 2000, the Urban Lab is an ongoing experiment in education, research and outreach, and is an example of university - community collaboration involving faculty, students and the public. We…

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The Waterlines Project

We examine the history of Seattle through a focus on its shorelines: the natural and human forces that have shaped them, the ways they have been used and thought about by the people who have lived here, and how this historic understanding might influence urban-development decisions being made today.

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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…


News | July 8, 2019

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

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


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Timothy V. Larson

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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 | November 21, 2016

To Californians: The Hours You Spend in Traffic May Soon Be Used to Generate Electricity

LOS ANGELES, CA – If you’re a Los Angeles native, resident or even visitor, you will probably cringe at the combination of “LA” and “rush hour.” Sitting in LA traffic is an excruciatingly painful task, and not just because of the hours you spend putting pressure on your lower back. If your brakes aren’t screeching…


News | August 1, 2019

Trees an oasis of mental well-being

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


Research Beyond UW | University of Chicago

UChicago Urban Labs

The University of Chicago's Urban Labs comprises 5 units: Crime Lab, Education Lab, Energy & Environment Lab, Health Lab, and Poverty Lab. Working in partnership with policy makers and practitioners worldwide, Urban Labs help evaluate and implement the most effective urban policies and solutions around the world, bringing improvements to people's lives in real time.…

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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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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…


News | April 22, 2019

Urban coyote evolution favors the bold

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


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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Research Beyond UW | University of Tokyo

Urban Design Lab

The objective of the Urban Design Lab is to strike a balance between scientific research, teaching, and practical urban design work in the field. We encourage students to develop practical skills as well as a sound theoretical knowledge in order to enable them practicing in all areas of urban design; in the contexts of spatial…

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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…


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…


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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Center & Lab

Urban Form Lab

The Urban Form Lab (UFL) aims to affect policy and to support approaches to the design and planning of more livable environments, with a specialty in geospatial analyses of the built environment using multiple micro-scale data in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Current research includes the development of novel GIS routines for performing spatial inventories 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 | May 8, 2017

Urban lifestyles help to protect the Puget Sound ecosystem

As the state of Washington estimates that the Puget Sound area will grow by more than 1.5 million residents within the next two decades. That is expected to have profound effects on the environment as more and more people move to undeveloped areas. Christopher Dunagan with the Puget Sound Institute explains why urban lifestyles help…


News | May 10, 2017

Urban Scholar Highlight: Christopher Meek

Christopher Meek is a faculty member in University of Washington’s Department of Architecture and a director in the Integrated Design Lab in the Center for Integrated Design, located in the Bullitt Center. He teaches during the school year and the rest of his time is focused on research on high-performance buildings. We sat down with…


Research Beyond UW | Harvard University

Urban Theory Lab

In the early 1970s, Henri Lefebvre put forward the radical hypothesis of the complete urbanization of society. This required, in his view, a radical shift from the analysis of urban form to the investigation of urbanization processes. The Urban Theory Lab builds upon Lefebvre’s approach to investigate emergent sociospatial formations under early twenty-first century capitalism.…

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Research Beyond UW | Durham University

Urban Worlds

Urban Worlds is a research cluster that was formed in 2009 to reflect the department’s international standing in cutting-edge urban research. Its purpose is to provide a forum that brings together existing urban research within the department and to generate new lines of inquiry. The urban geographical research in the department aims to understand the…

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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 | 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 | August 25, 2020

US cities could face nearly 30 times more exposure to extreme heat by 2100 compared to the early 2000s, study finds

As triple-digit heat tests the limits of California’s electrical grid to keep millions of people cool, it is clear the effects of human-caused global warming are already here. But the extreme heat baking the Western US is a mere preview of what could be coming: A new study finds that in the future, the heat risk facing the country’s biggest…


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 | 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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UW Remote Sensing & Geospatial Analysis Laboratory

RSGAL’s research goal is to understand multiscale and multidimensional dynamics of landscape change through the application of remote sensing, GIS and geospatial tools. The lab develops tools necessary to analyze hyper-resolution remotely sensed data by exploiting spatial, temporal and spectral capabilities of the data. RSGAL work focuses on the application of high spatial resolution remote…

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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 | April 8, 2019

UW study on methane emissions offers clues to Cascadia Subduction Zone

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


News | April 10, 2019

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

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


News | November 29, 2018

UW’s Marina Alberti to lead new NSF-funded research network to study impact of cities on Earth’s evolutionary dynamics

Here in what is called the Anthropocene era, humans and our urban environments appear to be driving accelerated evolutionary change in plants, animals, fungi, viruses and more — changes that could affect key ecosystem functions and thus human well-being. These interactions between evolution and ecology are called “eco-evolutionary feedback.” The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year,…


News | November 1, 2018

Valuing older buildings: Architecture professor’s book argues for reuse rather than wrecking ball

In her new book, Kathryn Rogers Merlino, University of Washington associate professor in the department of Architecture in the College of Built Environments, argues for the environmental benefit of reusing buildings rather than tearing them down and building anew. “I was trained as both an architect and architectural historian,” Merlino says, “and have always been drawn…


Scholar

Vanessa Galaviz

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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…


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 | April 9, 2020

Watch videos of UW students’ ideas for public toilets, road safety and job matches in India

A UW study abroad program empowers students from all disciplines to apply their skills to real-life problems — such as food insecurity, water scarcity, and a lack of adequate housing and education. At the end of the program the students create videos to share their projects. Participants in the Grand Challenges Impact Lab, directed by UW…


News | December 4, 2015

Weekly Recap 11/30 – 12/4

In case you’ve been sleeping for the past week, here are some of the urban news highlights: #COP21 Kicked off in Paris and cities took center stage Newsweek Article > Environmental Historian Christof Mauch came to UW and gave a lecture: ‘How Vulnerable Is Our World? Environmental Sustainability and Lessons from the Past’ Seattle Times…


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…


Map | New York

Welikia 1609 Map of NYC

This interactive map that lets you explore what every block of New York City was like in 1609, the year Henry Hudson arrived.

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Funding

Wellcome Trust – Our Planet Our Health

Our Planet, Our Health: call for ambitious, transdisciplinary programmes that research the ways complex changes in our environment affect our health and develop potential solutions to enhance resilience.

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Center & Lab

Wetland Ecosystem Team

The Wetland Ecosystem Team (WET) conducts basic and applied research on coastal wetland ecology. Our mission is to advance scientific knowledge of shallow-water and estuarine coastal wetland ecosystems to better understand natural and anthropogenic sources of their variability and change. We provide the research infrastructure to support graduate students in order for them to contribute…

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News | August 7, 2017

What city ants can teach us about species evolution and climate change

Acorn ants are tiny. They’re not the ants you’d notice marching across your kitchen or swarming around sidewalk cracks, but the species is common across eastern North America. In particular, acorn ants live anywhere you find oak or hickory trees: both in forests and in the hearts of cities. That’s why they’re so interesting to…


News | November 19, 2017

What counts as nature? It all depends

The environment we grow up with informs how we define “nature,” UW psychology professor Peter Kahn says. Encounters with truly wild places inspire people to preserve them.Think, for a moment, about the last time you were out in nature. Were you in a city park? At a campground? On the beach? In the mountains? Now…


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 | February 21, 2018

What would a truly disabled-accessible city look like?

To David Meere, a visually impaired man from Melbourne, among the various obstacles to life in cities is another that is less frequently discussed: fear. “The fear of not being able to navigate busy, cluttered and visually oriented environments is a major barrier to participation in normal life,” says Meere, 52, “be that going to…


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 | October 8, 2020

Where you live could influence your COVID-19 risk

King County neighborhoods that are poorer and have higher levels of air pollution also tend to have higher rates of COVID-19 cases, according to new research by the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) and collaborators. These neighborhoods—mainly clustered in South King County—also have lower COVID-19 testing rates than the county average,…


Funding

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The Hewlett Foundation makes grants in five core program areas: education, environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy. In addition, the Foundation makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the Bay Area. The Foundation’s grants are awarded solely for charitable purposes.

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Scholar

William E. Daniell

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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 | November 25, 2019

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

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


News | 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…


News | May 16, 2018

With world’s worst air, Indian city struggles to track pollution

In the world’s most polluted city, Kanpur in northern India, the biggest hospital is so overcrowded with patients with respiratory ailments that they are often bedded in the ophthalmology ward. Kanpur, home to 3 million people, is followed by 13 other Indian cities in a list of the places with the worst air in the…


News | June 18, 2019

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

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


News | March 31, 2020

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

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


Scholar

Yonn Dierwechter

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Zack W. Almquist

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