Microsoft backs Seattle-Vancouver high-speed rail study as Cascadia conference aims to deepen ties

Microsoft backs Seattle-Vancouver high-speed rail study as Cascadia conference aims to deepen ties

​Wikimedia commons: CC BY-SA 3.0

Pacific Northwest business and political leaders on both sides of the Canada-US border announced a series of agreements to strengthen relationships between Seattle, Portland, Vancouver B.C. and the surrounding areas.

The new partnerships, made ahead of the second Cascadia Innovation Corridor conference in Seattle this week, focus on technology, economic development, education and transportation. Government officials, universities, companies and research institutions are participating in the effort, which is meant to bring...

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Storefront Studio creates vision for downtown block

Storefront Studio creates vision for downtown block

​Wikimedia commons: Public Domain

Three graduate students and their professor from the University of Washington College of Built Environments spent much of this summer visiting Gig Harbor and creating a plan that could change and enhance an area in the downtown waterfront business district.

The Storefront Studio Project, as the endeavor is called, began in June when the students met with a group of about 50 business owners, residents, members of the Downtown Waterfront Alliance and others...

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College of Built Environments’ David de la Cruz partners with communities for environmental justice

College of Built Environments’ David de la Cruz partners with communities for environmental justice

David de la Cruz

David de la Cruz has a question about power. “When we think about toxic sites and where they’re placed in relation to where people live, who’s left out of making those decisions?” “Often,” he answers, “it’s the people who live there. It’s low-income communities, working-class communities and communities of color who don’t have a say. They’re the ones who have to deal with...

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‘Smart’ campuses invest in the Internet of Things

‘Smart’ campuses invest in the Internet of Things

As campus executives start to develop their IoT strategies, it is not just CIOs who have to be involved. Sometimes, facilities groups have their own IT executives working on data pipelines from IoT devices. Chuck Benson, assistant director for IT in Facilities Services at the University of Washington, chairs a campuswide IoT risk mitigation task force.

Energy management is a great example of where IoT is having an impact, Benson said. With...

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UW student Jessica Hamilton receives 2017 ASLA student honor award

UW student Jessica Hamilton receives 2017 ASLA student honor award

Jessica Hamilton, a recent graduate of UW Department of Landscape Architecture, received the prestigious American Society of Landscape Architects Student Honor Award in the Communications Category for the Tactile MapTile project: an innovative interdisciplinary work combining big data, additive manufacturing, and pedestrian-centric landscape architecture. The project is a collaboration between the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology (housed by the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science) and UW Landscape Architecture (College of Built Environments)...

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Urban Scholar Highlight: Scott Allard

Urban Scholar Highlight: Scott Allard

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

How do your current research interests intersect with...

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Why Seattle is poised to be a leader in ‘smart city’ technology and regulations

New technology is helping local government create “smarter” cities in a variety of ways, from adaptive traffic lights to open data platforms to advanced utility meters. But with innovation comes complication. Privacy, security, and equality challenges are inevitable when the public sector tries to implement technology with the help of private companies.

This was the subject of a roundtable discussion hosted by U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) at the University...

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One-third of Seattle drivers ‘cruising’ for parking, rides, study finds

More than one-third of drivers in Seattle are either searching for parking or are ridesharing drivers waiting for ride assignments. That’s according to a study by a group of University of Washington students looking at traffic sensor data. The four students involved called this practice of searching for parking or rides “cruising.” The project used 63 sensors that already scattered through downtown Seattle. Student Orysya Stus said the team used a complicated...

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Why Architects should care about public health

Why Architects should care about public health

Pixabay: Free-Photos: CC0 Creative Commons:

Andrew Dannenberg, an Affiliate Professor at the School of Public Health and the College of Built Environments, writes about the importance of architects recognizing human health: while architects have long recognized the importance of human health —including physical, mental, and social well-being — as part of their mission, implementation sometimes reflects a spirit of compliance more than of aspiration. Design that is limited to preventing harm by meeting building codes and standards forfeits...

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

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

​Wikimedia: FEMA: Public Domain

The U.S. Geological Survey has awarded $4.9 million to six universities and a nonprofit to help advance an early-warning system for earthquakes along the West Coast. The federal agency says the ShakeAlert system could give people seconds or up to a minute of warning before strong shaking begins. The University of Washington, Central Washington University and University of Oregon are among those receiving grants. Congress provided $10.2 million to the USGS earthquake hazards program earlier...

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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 grid modernization and energy storage industries.

Grid modernization—a broader term for what is also...

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

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

By Yair Haklai (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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 Sarah Diamond, a biology professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. ...

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Justice Dept. rules intensify crackdown on sanctuary cities

Justice Dept. rules intensify crackdown on sanctuary cities

Wikimedia Commons: Burzum: CC ASA 3.0

The Justice Department escalated its promised crackdown on so called sanctuary cities in late July, saying it will no longer award coveted grant money to cities unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice when someone in the country illegally is about to be released.

Under old rules, cities seeking grant money needed only to show they were not preventing local law enforcement from communicating with federal...

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

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

CC0 Public Domain: Maxpixel:

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, as one might suspect, smaller buildings cause fewer bird deaths than do bigger buildings. But the research...

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There’s a map for that

There’s a map for that

Wikimedia Commons: Public Domain: USGS

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

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