Developing ‘breakaway’ tsunami resistant buildings

Developing ‘breakaway’ tsunami resistant buildings

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The best designs can also be the most surprising. A promising new concept for tsunami resistant buildings features breakaway walls and floors on lower levels that, when removed by forceful waves, strengthen the structure and better protect occupants seeking safety on higher floors.

Thanks to a $1 million National Science Foundation Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation grant, CEE faculty will be developing a new structural system to better protect communities during tsunamis. The...

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Earthquakes are inevitable but catastrophe is not

Written by University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Marc Eberherd, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering associate professor Jeffery Berman, and Department of Human-Centered Design senior scientist Scott Miles.

Many older buildings provide vital, low-cost housing. But we must find a way to make these structures safer. It should not be acceptable to us to subject our fellow citizens to such hazardous conditions.

ONCE again we...

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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

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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

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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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‘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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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

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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

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

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

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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

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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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Does commercial zoning increase neighborhood crime?

Does commercial zoning increase neighborhood crime?

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In the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump told The New York Times that America’s urban centers are some of the “most dangerous,” crime-filled places in the world. Even though experts were quick to point out that violent crime has actually declined in all but a handful of America’s largest cities and urban areas, the view of cities as dense, dirty, and dangerous and suburbs as spread out, pastoral,...

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MetroLab to hold annual summit in Atlanta

MetroLab Network—a national network of 40 city-university partnerships focused on urban innovation—will be hosting their Annual Summit in Atlanta from September 13-15 (in partnership with the City of Atlanta and Georgia Tech). The Summit will bring together leaders from local government, universities, industry and non-profit and is an opportunity to share, discuss, and present on the impact of data, analytics, and technology on local government. Martin O’Malley (Former Governor of Maryland) and...

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The biggest cliché in tech is hurting cities

The biggest cliché in tech is hurting cities

CC BY-ND 2.0: Flickr: Marc Van dir Chijs

If you don’t live in Silicon Valley, chances are you live in its close relative: “the next Silicon Valley.” The label has been slapped with abandon on towns, cities, regions, or sometimes entire countries. All it takes is an uptick in job growth, an influx of startups, or a new coding bootcamp for the cliche to come roaring into headlines and motivational speeches.

In 2008, Margaret O’Mara developed an...

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Partnership with CMMB launches new center on smart, connected communities

China Multimedia Mobile Broadcasting - Vision (CMMB) has awarded the University of Washington Department of Electrical Engineering (UW EE) a $1.5 million gift to establish a new research center. The CMMB Vision-UW Center on Satellite Multimedia and Connected Vehicles will focus on the development of the next generation of smart cars and ubiquitous connectivity.

“UW EE is dedicated to the advancement of smart cities,” UW Department of Electrical Engineering Professor and...

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