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

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

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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 year, city staff will work with University of Washington’s Livable City Year program participants...

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

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 environment, the interdisciplinary PhD in the Built Environment at UW is organizing a one-day symposium around the...

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

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

Pixabay: CC 0 Creative Commons : Thommas68

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 on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.N.’s top scientific authority on global warming, organizers...

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What would a truly disabled-accessible city look like?

What would a truly disabled-accessible city look like?

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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 the shops, going for a walk in the park, going to work, looking for work, or simply...

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

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

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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 — reflecting a nationwide problem.

The community in question is the predominantly Black neighborhood of Parramore in...

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What if a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit Seattle?

What if a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit Seattle?

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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 and Northern California, but the locations of some epicenters were a bit more forgiving than others.<...

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What counts as nature? It all depends

What counts as nature? It all depends

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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 consider: What was this place like in your parents’ time? Your grandparents’? In many...

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

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

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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 Marshall estimated exposure to outdoor concentrations of a transportation-related pollutant — nitrogen dioxide (NO2) — in both 2000 and 2010,...

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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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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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Lake Union building earns awards for energy savings

Lake Union building earns awards for energy savings

Wikimedia Commons: CC Public Domain: Leonardo.Stabile

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 or enough electricity to power 33 homes. The Lake Union Building is a 45-year old building located at 1700 Westlake Avenue N. along...

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New Seattle seawall aims to improve waterfront salmon habitat

New Seattle seawall aims to improve waterfront salmon habitat

CC BY-SA 2.0: Flickr: HJ_west

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 a light-penetrating sidewalk to make the waterfront more fish-friendly, specifically salmon coming...

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Urban Scholar Highlight: Christopher Meek

Urban Scholar Highlight: Christopher Meek

​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 him to learn more about his work.

Urban@UW: What are your current research interests...

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Urban lifestyles help to protect the Puget Sound ecosystem

Urban lifestyles help to protect the Puget Sound ecosystem

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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 to protect both rural and urban habitat.

Continue Reading at Encyclopedia of the Puget Sound

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