Design & Building @UW

Do you have a project at UW addressing Design & Building and cities, urbanism or the Seattle metropolitan region? If so we want to feature your work. Email us at urbanuw@uw.edu with the following information:   project title, brief description, link, image and relevant tags

Urban Infrastructure Lab's website

Urban Infrastructure Lab

Research from the Urban Infrastructure Lab includes: UW Solar, Husky Sustainable Storms, Climate Smart Capital Investment Planning, Smart Cities & Information Security, Transaction Cost Economics, and Homeland Security

Learn more on theUrban Infrastructure Lab website

Center For Environment, Education, and Design Studies's website

Center For Environment, Education, and Design Studies

The Center for Environment Education and Design Studies (CEEDS) brings together a culturally diverse, interdisciplinary group of faculty and students to enhance learning and community well-being through participatory research and design with K-12 schools, government agencies, and grassroots organizations. Although our work focuses primarily on communities in the greater Seattle area, CEEDS has established interdisciplinary collaborations that extend nationally.

Learn more on theCenter For Environment, Education, and Design Studies website

Center for Integrated Design's website

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 through discovery, advocacy and...

Learn more on theCenter for Integrated Design website

Pacific Northwest Center for Construction Research + Education's website

Pacific Northwest Center for Construction Research + Education

With generous support from the local construction industry in Seattle, the Department of Construction Management took on an ambitious project to develop a nearby research and education center at the old naval base at Sand Point. CERC features 25,000 square feet of space on two levels, providing a home for three areas of research and activity: Virtual Construction Methods and Materials ...

Learn more on thePacific Northwest Center for Construction Research + Education website

Interdisciplinary Urban Design & Planning (PhD)'s website

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 breadth of this program permits...

Learn more on theInterdisciplinary Urban Design & Planning (PhD) website

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

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 by Human Centered Design &...

Learn more on theCenter for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience (CoSSaR) website

Infrastructure Planning & Management - Floodplain Management (MIPM)'s website

Infrastructure Planning & Management - Floodplain Management (MIPM)

The Master of Infrastructure Planning & Management now offers a degree option in Floodplain Management, allowing students to earn their master’s with a focus on the study of coastal and riverine floodplain management. This 45-credit degree program lasts 24 months and launches with its first student cohort in summer 2016. Flooding is an extremely daunting and costly challenge facing society, with...

Learn more on theInfrastructure Planning & Management - Floodplain Management (MIPM) website

Center for Urban Horticulture's website

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 UW research.

Learn more on theCenter for Urban Horticulture website

Integrated Design Lab's website

Integrated Design Lab

The Integrated Design Lab carries out research to advance knowledge and policies that support the healthiest and highest performing buildings and cities. It measures and analyzes modeled and actual building performance data so as to influence the building industry’s understanding of how to radically improve the design and operation performance of buildings. Our performance research includes energy efficiency, daylighting,...

Learn more on theIntegrated Design Lab website

Green Futures Lab's website

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 of Washington, local communities and...

Learn more on theGreen Futures Lab website

The Biofuels and Bioproducts Laboratory's website

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 other products or can be...

Learn more on theThe Biofuels and Bioproducts Laboratory website

The Cities Collaboratory's website

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 of economic expansion, social innovation,...

Learn more on theThe Cities Collaboratory website

Urban Form Lab's website

Urban Form Lab

The Urban Form Lab (UFL) is directed by Anne Vernez Moudon, Dr. es Sc., a leading researcher and educator in quantifying the properties of the built environment as related to health and transportation behaviors. UFL research aims to affect policy and to support approaches to the design and planning of more livable environments. The UFL specializes in geospatial analyses of...

Learn more on theUrban Form Lab website

The Informal Urban Communities Initiative's website

The Informal Urban Communities Initiative

The Informal Urban Communities Initiative | IUCI: The IUCI is a design activism, research and education program based in Lomas de Zapallal (LdZ), an informal urban settlement (slum) in northern Lima, Peru. It focuses on the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of community-driven interventions in the built environment and, in response to priorities articulated by community members, places particular emphasis on...

Learn more on theThe Informal Urban Communities Initiative website

Chandigarh Urban Lab

The Chandigarh Urban Lab is dedicated to creating a forum to understanding the contemporary Indian city in transformation. It is designed to support Indian and international students and scholars of architecture and urbanism interested in studying Chandigarh as a case-study in the above context. Besides infrastructural and logistical support, the Lab offers linkages with local and national architects, academics, activists...

Learn more on theChandigarh Urban Lab website

Center for Asian Urbanism's website

Center for Asian Urbanism

The Center for Asian Urbanism is established to promote and undertake interdisciplinary and collaborative research of urban conditions and processes in Asia and the “Global Pacific” – i.e. the relevancies of cities and city-regions in Asia to each other, to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., and to the world at large. Specifically, the Center will integrate...

Learn more on theCenter for Asian Urbanism website

Northwest Center for Livable Communities's website

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. The Center is a research and policy center focused on issues of environmental and economic sustainability, quality of life,...

Learn more on theNorthwest Center for Livable Communities website

Sustainable Transportation: Planning and Livable Communities (Cert)'s website

Sustainable Transportation: Planning and Livable Communities (Cert)

Examine the important issues involved in sustainable transportation planning. Review policies and programs that encourage mixed use development and higher density levels in order to promote modes of transportation other than the single occupancy vehicle. Study the impact different transportation options have on the environment and sustainability. Explore the movement of goods as well as various freight options and the...

Learn more on theSustainable Transportation: Planning and Livable Communities (Cert) website

Lake Union Lab's website

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 in the historical, the spatial,...

Learn more on theLake Union Lab website

Landscape Architecture (BLA, MLA)'s website

Landscape Architecture (BLA, MLA)

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 of urbanism, ecology, and...

Learn more on theLandscape Architecture (BLA, MLA) website

Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies's website

Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies

Located in Seattle, one of America’s great gateway cities with one of the top real estate markets in the country, the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington is preparing tomorrow’s real estate leaders today by offering students an interdisciplinary and comprehensive real estate education that values quality and sustainability. Based in the College...

Learn more on theRunstad Center for Real Estate Studies website

Design Machine Group's website

Design Machine Group

We are a collaborative research studio aimed at exploring, fostering and developing ideas that will shape the future of design and information technology.

Learn more on theDesign Machine Group website

Name Affiliations Areas of Interest
Daniel Abramson
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Marina Alberti
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Alex Anderson
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Julie Angeley
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Rachel Berney
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Alan Borning
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Heather Burpee
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Christopher Campbell
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Manish Chalana
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Avanti Chande
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Meredith Clausen
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Kyle Crowder
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Andrew L. Dannenberg
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Jennifer Dee
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Sofia Dermisi
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Santosh Devasia
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Carrie Sturts Dossick
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Glen Duncan
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Jerry V. Finrow
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Howard Frumkin
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Elizabeth Golden
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Himanshu Grover
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Jess Hamilton
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Tad Hirsch
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Jeff Hou
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Nicole Huber
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Philip M Hurvitz
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Julie M. Johnson
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Yong-Woo Kim
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Amy Kim
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Ken-Yu Lin
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Lynne Manzo
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Brian McLaren
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Christopher Meek
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Glen Minah
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Ali Modarres
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Rick Mohler
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Steve Muench
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Jeffrey Karl Ochsner
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Ken Tadashi Oshima
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Rob Pena
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Vikram Prakash
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Andrew Prindle
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Gundula Proksch
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Nancy Rivenburgh
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Iain Robertson
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Mary Roderick
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Nancy Rottle
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Qing Shen
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Ben Spencer
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Jill Sterrett
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Sharon E. Sutton
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Anne Vernez-Moudon
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Fritz W. Wagner
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Thaisa Way
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Daniel Winterbottom
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Anaid Yerena
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Ken Yocom
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Research Center Focus Mission
The Bartlett Development Planning Unit
University College of London
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.
Centre for Urban & Community Studies
University of Toronto
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 around the world.
Urban Theory Lab
Harvard University
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. Our research starts from the proposition that inherited frameworks of urban knowledge must be radically reinvented to illuminate emergent forms of twenty-first century urbanization. In contrast to the urban/suburban/rural distinction that has long underpinned the major traditions of urban research, data collection and cartographic practice, we argue that the urban today represents a worldwide condition in which all political-economic and socio-environmental relations are enmeshed, regardless of terrestrial location or morphological configuration. This emergent condition of planetary urbanization means, paradoxically, that even spaces that lie well beyond the traditional centers of agglomeration—from worldwide shipping lanes, transportation networks and communications infrastructures to resource extraction sites, alpine and coastal tourist enclaves, offshore financial centers, agro-industrial catchment zones, and erstwhile “natural” spaces such as the world’s oceans, deserts, jungles, mountain ranges, tundra and atmosphere—are becoming integral to a worldwide operational landscape for (capitalist) urbanization processes.
Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities
Harvard University
The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities aims to transform the building industry through a commitment to design-centric strategy that directly links research outcomes to the development of new processes, systems, and products. By strongly emphasizing innovation and multidisciplinary collaboration, the Center will work to promote holistic change within the built environment, namely the creation and continued improvement of sustainable, high performance buildings and cities.
MaP+S
Harvard University
The Materials, Processes, and Systems (MaPS) Group, lead by Professor Martin Bechthold, is a research unit that promotes the understanding, development and deployment of innovative technologies for buildings. The group evolved from the previously established Design Robotics Group, and is located in a research cluster at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. MaPS looks at materiality as starting points for design research, with a special interest in robotic and computer-numerically controlled (CNC) fabrication processes as well as small scale work on nano-materials. Much of our current work studies ceramic material systems and design robotics. MaPS also runs the Adaptive Living Environments (ALivE) project jointly with Harvards REAL group. ALivE develops novel applications for nano-scale material systems developed jointly with scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The MaP+S Group works on funded research and other projects, and supports thesis research on the masters and the doctoral level. We work with industry partners and associations, students, faculty and staff of the GSD, as well as with other academic groups at Harvard University and beyond.
Energy, Environments & Design Lab
Harvard University
What does energy want from design? What role does design have in energy systems? As a part of the Research Advancement Initiative (RAI), at Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Energy, Environments & Design Lab investigates novel agendas for energy at a range of design scales. From overlooked thermal parameters at the molecular level to global scale emergy analysis, the design disciplines urgently need alternate intellectual frameworks, research methodologies, and practices for energy in the twenty-first century. Materials, buildings, landscapes, cities, and urbanization are all overtly connected energy hierarchies that must be lucidly understood as the basis of any design agenda for energy today.
Urban Design Lab
Columbia University
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, public health, urban design and urban planning.
Asian Megacities Lab
Columbia University
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 in Asia, through both research and design.
Latin America and Caribbean Laboratory
Columbia University
The Latin American and Caribbean Laboratory (Latin Lab) serves as an intellectual platform for research, educational, and service initiatives related to architecture and urban planning in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The Lab aims to become a leading laboratory for the study of the built environment and community development in LAC and its diasporas and a premier resource to assist in the just and sustainable transformation of LAC territories and communities. The Lab’s primary lines of work are Migration and Ethno-Urbanism, Urban Resilience and Upgrading, and Transnational and Regional Planning.
Arctic Design Group
University of Virginia
“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 of new shipping routes, and demand for natural resources, the arctic is poised to become a network of development; fragile natural ecosystems, centuries of indigenous culture, and towns and cities that have existed at the outer edges of viability will be challenged to adapt.” The Arctic Design Group (ADG) was launched in 2013 at the University of Virginia School of Architecture as a multi-disciplinary platform for Arctic-focused research, encompassing the UVA School of Architecture, Department of Environmental Sciences, and the Law School. It is the first of its kind in the U.S. and one of only a handful of efforts worldwide to bring to the foreground design as a method to proactively develop strategies and proposals for the future northern territories.
Center for Design & Health
University of Virginia
The Center for Design and Health pursues cross-disciplinary research to aid the design and planning of effective environments for human health and well being. The work of the Center focuses on a variety of health issues, including the design and planning of patient-centered medical facilities, housing, neighborhoods, communities, cities, and regions.
Community Design Research Center
University of Virginia
The Community Design Research Center (CDRC), led by director Suzanne Moomaw, initiates, generates, and works collaboratively with partners to connect faculty, students, and community members to research and design application projects aimed at addressing systemic local, regional, national, and global challenges. Called the “wicked” problems of society, these include human settlements, sustainable ecosystems, poverty, food and health inequities, economic development, income disparity, cultural and historical preservation and restoration, and social equity and justice to name only a few.
Center for Cultural Landscapes
University of Virginia
The Center for Cultural Landscapes produces research and creates new models of innovative cultural landscape stewardship in the region, the nation and around the globe. We are an interdisciplinary group of anthropologists, historians, landscape architects, architects, and planners who are connected to, and collaborating with, a larger group of associated professionals and organizations to achieve this mission. Our work focuses on increasing awareness of the historical and ecological value of cultural landscapes through innovative scholarly research, site documentation and fieldwork, planning, preservation, management and design. The Center for Cultural Landscapes is funded by the UVA Sara Shallenberger Brown Cultural Landscapes Initiative, UVA Associate Provost for the Arts, and the UVA School of Architecture Dean's office.
Center for Environmental Design Research
University of California, Berkeley
The Center for Environmental Design Research (CEDR) fosters research in environmental planning and design, ranging from the local environments of people within buildings to region-wide ecosystems, from small details of building construction to large-scale urban planning, from the history of the built environment to the design process itself. Our research is highly interdisciplinary. Our researchers collaborate with people across campus, including the disciplines of mechanical engineering, civil & environmental engineering, electrical engineering & computer science, public health, public policy, optometry, psychology, business, energy & resources and more.
Institute of Urban and Regional Development
University of California, Berkeley
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 answer how 21st century urbanization and cities can be the sites of innovation and opportunity, sustainability and democracy, health and social justice." - Director Jason Corburn Advancing multidisciplinary, collaborative and action-oriented urban research and policy analysis that addresses urban issues, not just analyzes them. Acting as the intellectual hub on the UC Berkeley campus for all things ‘urban equity’ Building long-term, university-community action-research partnerships (avoiding the ‘extraction’ model of research) Establishing and fostering a vibrant network of researchers, community partners & policy makers to support leadership & innovation for urban equity IURD & Urban Equity We define urban equity as focused efforts to address avoidable inequalities by targeting resources and improvements for populations and places that have experienced socioeconomic, racial, gender and/or other injustices.
Coastal Sustainability Studio
Lousiana State University
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 that work to develop strategies that address coastal problems.
Aga Khan Program
Harvard University
The Aga Khan Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design is part of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and MIT, dedicated to the study of Islamic art and architecture, urbanism, landscape design and conservation. The GSD program is invested in the application of that knowledge to contemporary design issues. Established in 2003, the Aga Khan Program at the GSD provides tuition and scholarships to doctoral and PhD students studying the impact of development in the shaping of landscapes, cities and regional territories in the Muslim world. The program’s research and activities focus a lens on the design of public spaces, environmental concerns and land use and territorial settlement patterns from World War II to the present. Any full-time student already enrolled at Harvard or MIT can benefit from the course offerings and research undertakings of the Aga Khan Program at the GSD.
Center for Advanced Urbanism
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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 and research can play in addressing these. We embrace conversations with the world's top experts at MIT, to feed and foster our innovations. We take pride in the fact that participants in the center do not just talk about things; they create projects, build things, and actively change our society out in the real world; and then come together to learn from each other's experiences, publish, and debate about future directions. The Center for Advanced Urbanism has been established at the initiative of the Dean and department Chairs of the School of Architecture and Planning and reflects a renewed drive to excellence in urbanism.
MIT CoLab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) is a center for planning and development within the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). CoLab supports the development and use of knowledge from excluded communities to deepen civic engagement, improve community practice, inform policy, mobilize community assets, and generate shared wealth. We believe that community knowledge can drive powerful innovation and can help make markets an arena for supporting social justice. CoLab facilitates the interchange of knowledge and resources between MIT and community organizations. We engage students to be practitioners of this approach to community change and sustainability.
P-REX
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
P-REX a research lab focused on environmental problems caused by urbanization, including the design, remediation, and reuse of waste landscapes worldwide. P-REX works to develop non-traditional design solutions to push the boundaries of conventional practice and incorporate resilient thinking into large-scale strategic planning & design.
The Urban Risk Lab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Urban Risk Lab at MIT develops methods and technologies to embed risk reduction and preparedness into the design of cities and regions to increase the resilience of local communities. Operating at the intersection of ecology and infrastructure, rural and urban, research and action; the Urban Risk Lab is an interdisciplinary organization of researchers and designers. With a global network of partners, the Lab is a place to innovate on techniques, processes, and systems to address the complexities of seismic, climatic, and hydrologic risks. We engage in action research through extensive field work and community workshops to focus on the needs of diverse cultures and contexts. We aspire to change the course of current global development trends through a radical shift in education and action to proactively embed preparedness and risk reduction in this rapidly urbanizing world.
West Philadelphia Landscape Project
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The West Philadelphia Landscape Project has worked in the Mill Creek Watershed since 1987, with a focus on the Mill Creek neighborhood. Throughout our more than 25-year history, we have worked with the people of Mill Creek to address the opportunities and challenges posed by the urban landscape. For more than twenty-five years, the West Philadelphia Landscape Project (WPLP) has worked in the Mill Creek watershed and neighborhood. Our mission is to restore nature and rebuild community through strategic design, planning, and education projects. Through our experience in Mill Creek, we seek to demonstrate how to create human settlements that are healthier, economical to build and maintain, more resilient, more beautiful, and more just. A key proposal of the West Philadelphia Landscape Project is to manage the Mill Creek watershed as part of a broad approach to improving regional water quality and as a strategy to secure funds to rebuild the neighborhood. We employ landscape literacy as a cornerstone of community development. During the past quarter century, hundreds of students, teachers, residents, and public officials have been part of WPLP. WPLP has worked with numerous partners, including the Philadelphia Water Department, Penn’s Center for Community Partnerships, Aspen Farms Community Garden, Sulzberger Middle School, the Mill Creek Coalition, the Philadelphia Urban Resources Partnership, and Philadelphia Green. WPLP is led by Anne Whiston Spirn, a professor of landscape architecture and planning at MIT, founded WPLP in 1987 when she was at the University of Pennsylvania.
Penn Institute for Urban Research
University of Pennsylvania
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 needs of an increasingly urbanized society. The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) is dedicated to advancing cross-disciplinary urban-focused research, instruction, and civic engagement on issues relevant to cities around the world. As the global population becomes increasingly urban, understanding cities is vital to informed decision-making and public policy at the local, national, and international levels. Penn IUR focuses on research that informs the sustainable and inclusive twenty-first-century city. By providing a forum for collaborative scholarship and instruction at Penn and beyond, Penn IUR stimulates research and engages with urban practitioners and policymakers to inform urban policy.
U-Lab
Technical University of Berlin
The "Urban Research and Design Laboratory" was initiated in 2010 at the Technical University of Berlin. Based on the model of dialogue formats it encourages exchanges between teaching, research and practice, responding to demands of interdisciplinary project work as well as case study-based and activity-oriented functioning in the education of future city planners, urban designers and architects. Through close cooperation with all stakeholders involved in the planning projects, the U-Lab contributes by providing new approaches to the research and development of courses of action for the participatory design of urban space. Employing cooperative working formats students get the possibility to deal with the complexity of their future tasks and fields of action and learn about an integrative and collaborative way of working during their studies.
UCL Urban Laboratory
University College London
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 the UCL Urban Laboratory we encourage urban thinking, research, teaching and practice that are critical, creative, independent and interdisciplinary. We aim to share the knowledge our work produces widely, with diverse audiences. We experiment with new methods of urban research across disciplinary boundaries, practices and professions, providing a laboratory for cross- and interdisciplinary invention, because difficult urban challenges demand new modes of collaboration.
African Centre for Cities
University of Cape Town
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 but continue to fail to provide adequate answers or proposal to reverse growing urban inequality, environmental degradation and social conflicts. In this context it is unsurprising that there are very few qualified and appropriately trained urban professionals and activists who can manage Africa’s cities and towns. The ACC seeks to intervene into this situation by remaining rooted in context and building knowledge networks between durable research institutions across the Continent. The ACC conducts a series of applied research programmes in Cape Town, South Africa and significant parts of Africa.
Center for Metropolitan Studies
Technical University of Berlin
The city is our research field. Since 2004 the Center for Metropolitan Studies (CMS) at the Technische Universität Berlin has brought together both young and experienced researchers to study the historical developments and current problems of the metropolis in its international graduate research program, the masters program in historical urban studies, and adjunct research projects. The research center and its programs are interdisciplinary and international. The Center currently focuses on the topics of metropolis and mobility, suburbanization and urban renewal, cultural economies and cultural innovation processes. We view current problems such as security in cities, segregation and polarization from a historical perspective to uncover possible solutions for the present. Historical analysis sharpens our view of the twenty-first-century metropolis. The Center for Metropolitan Studies looks to bring together academic scholarship and practical research and consulting, to promote younger scholars and to encourage cooperation and communication between various actors in scientific research, economics, politics and civil society. CMS draws upon the experience of the thirty-year-old, internationally acknowledged Research Unit for Urban History of the Technische Universität in Berlin.
Urban Worlds
Durham University
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 emerging ways in which urban worlds are produced, governed, contested and transformed. We are interested in what is 'new' about contemporary urbanism, including the techniques through which cities are governed, the domains through which urban life is lived and reformulated, and the prospects of different forms of urban justice and democracy. A key question for us is how to conceptualise and research the changing relations between urbanism and space, whether through the making and maintaining of existing and new technosocial and ecological infrastructures, the production and contestation of shifting political economic architectures, the everyday life of neighbourhood and street politics, or the politics of urban encounters and informalities. We ask how we might understand urban spatialities as relational - and post-relational - and seek to excavate the different ways in which we might think of the world as becoming urban. How, for instance, does thinking the 'urban' and the 'world' change as the world becomes urbanised and the urban worldwide? We reject the epistemic and institutional separation of urbanism into global North and global South, and instead ask how a diversity of urban experiences and theoretical histories might pluralise the ways in which we understand and research urban worlds.
The City Centre
Queen Mary University of London
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 include new forms of urban politics; socio-economic exclusion and livelihoods; economic geographies of the city; women, planning and urban design; art, performance and representation; environmental concerns in the city; urban health; city, diaspora and migration. This research and activity is being developed through long-term collaborations with local partners in London, and with international partners in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and North America.
City Institute at York University (CITY)
York University
The City Institute at York University (CITY) brings together over 60 of the university’s urban scholars and scores of graduate students from fields as diverse as planning, geography, environmental studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, education, law, transportation and the humanities. This interdisciplinary institute facilitates critical and collaborative research, providing new knowledge and innovative approaches to comprehending and addressing the complexity of the urban arena.
Metropolitan Institute
Virginia Tech
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, locations, infrastructures, and stakeholders.
Global Cities Research Institute
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University
The Global Cities Research Institute was inaugurated in 2006 to bring together key researchers at RMIT University, Australia, working on understanding the complexity of globalizing urban settings from provincial centres to mega-cities. Our research is highly collaborative, linking with institutions and people around the world in long-term partnerships, we are directly addressing the challenge through engaged research programs intended to have significant on-the-ground impact. The emphasis of our research is on questions of resilience, security, sustainability, and adaptation in the face of the processes of globalization and global climate change. We focus on a number of carefully-chosen cities and their hinterlands and engage in cutting-edge and applied research that has real-world consequences for communities, governments and organizations. Our overall aim is to develop interpretations and strategies for building sustainable cities in the world today, contributing to the quality of human life and the viability of ecologies in those places.
Urban Design Lab
University of Tokyo
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 and structural design; as well as strategical and conceptual planning. Theoretical knowledge from scientific research and interdisciplinary teaching is also practically applied for urban design consultancy with local communities and the work on ‘real’ planning projects on site. Our scientific research includes urban morphology, urban and architectural history, historical and natural conservation, citizen participation, spatial analysis, urban sociology, community advocacy, place-making, renewal strategies for regional cities, as well international planning systems and Asian cities. Our ambition is to develop a more nuanced understanding of how urban spaces are perceived, used, appropriated, inhabited, designed, governed, and managed in order to contribute best to the evolution of livable cities. Based on the extensive research activities of our graduate students, we seek to propose new design processes that ultimately lead to more user friendly and sustainable urban spaces.
The Urban Lab
University of Calgary
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 strive to understand the places in which we live, and to find ways to develop urban form that is ecologically and economically sustainable, and that is appropriate in our contemporary cultural context. The search for a regional expression of civic and architectural design is a major underpinning of our work. Our approach always begins with a detailed analysis of the context of the project, where we try to understand the historical, environmental, cultural and political influences and processes. We attempt to integrate our research projects and findings into urban design education. We also try to play a role in the evolution of the city’s urban form and urban quality.