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Urban Studies

News | March 19, 2024

A New ‘Holy Grail’ in the Housing Crisis: Statewide Rent Caps

Reported in The New York Times by David W. Chen As housing costs soar, Washington State wants to limit annual rent increases to 7 percent. Oregon and California have passed similar measures.   With her husband struggling at times to find work, Ms. Horn has maxed out her credit cards to keep pace with the…

Course | T GIS 414

Advanced Applications of GIS

Applies GIS techniques through case studies of social, economic, and environmental issues in the Puget Sound region. Introduces new techniques in basic programming for GIS, using ArcGIS ModelBuilder, and the advanced use of GPS devices.


Ali Modarres

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Anaid Yerena

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Anne Taufen

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Bára Šafářová

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Brian Coffey

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Britta Ricker

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Course | T URB 316

Cities and Belonging

Addresses inequality in urban spaces through the concept of belonging and ideas about cultural belonging and legitimacy. While the course is traditional in its concern with urban poverty, race, ethnicity, and immigration, it offers a vocabulary of citizenship and rights to investigate urban inequalities and how various populations experience them.

Course | T URB 420

Cities and the Constitution

Examines Constitutional rights to freedom of expression in public institutions and public places of cities. Considers rights to freedom of expression as they exist in a variety of forums -- streets and parks, schools, shopping malls, university sporting events, and property surrounding prisons. Analyzes interactions among rights and community interests.

Course | T URB 330

City Worlds

Examines world urbanization and the shifting geographies associated with economic restructuring and globalization. Ethnicity, gender, urban form, local governance strategies, and resistance to those strategies are considered. Includes examples from cities in both the developed and developing world.

Course | T URB 326

Climate Change within the Urban Context

Provides an understanding of the nexus of urbanization and climate change. Covers international standards, the urban carbon footprint, and mitigation strategies such as urban forests, urban agriculture, green buildings, and sustainable transportation. Also considers justice and climate change adaptation.

Course | T URB 235

Community Development

Examines theories, polices, and practice of community change and development in American cities. Explores ways to assess community conditions, the contributions of various community institutions, impacts of regional, national, and global political economies, community-oriented development strategies, and methods to evaluate community development initiatives.

Course | T URB 470

Creating The Urban Narrative

Dissects the axiom "history is written by the winner". Examines how cities' narratives are created, sustained, and reinvented. Focuses on the assumptions and accepted histories of institutions, issues, conflicts, and cultures and their interconnectivity - through exposure to diverse tools used to create urban narratives.

Course | T GIS 415

Critical Theory and GIS Practicum

Explores the foundational debates that have impacted the evolution of geospatial software, technique, and methodology.

Course | T URB 305

Data And The City

Studies the intersection of data and everyday urban life. Prepares students to understand what is and is not captured in data and how said data come to represent themselves and their communities.


David Boe

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Davon Woodard

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Course | T URB 211

Digital Cities

Examines the impact that information technology has had on the spatial form and socio-economic processes of contemporary metropolitan areas. Covers the information economy; the digital divide; and placemaking applications of mobile technology.

News | February 18, 2017

Drones Are Turning Civilians Into an Air Force of Citizen Scientists

Last winter, as meteorologists warned of a monster El Niño, researchers at the Nature Conservancy in California prepared to mobilize with a new, distributed surveillance strategy: commercial drones, co-opted from a gung-ho statewide network of citizen scientists. Britta Ricker, geographic information scientist in Urban Studies University of Washington-Tacoma, shares her thoughts about the challenges and…

Course | TEST 221

Environmental History: Water

Examines the historical relationship between water and fire, irrigation, grazing, mining, deforestation, and urbanization upon the regional and global environment. Using case histories based on water, emphasizes the sources and methods historians use to study environmental change over time.

Course | T URB 101

Exploring Cities: An Introduction to Urban Studies

Introduction to the multi-disciplinary field of Urban Studies. Exposes the complexity of everyday life in metropolitan areas. Explores how the various disciplines of sociology, anthropology, geography, economies, and political science have studies and made sense of cities. Special attention given to issues of class, race, and gender.


Fern Tiger

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Course | T URB 314

Gender and the Urban Landscape

Examines linkages between cultural, physical, and symbolic urban landscapes and gender ideologies, structures, and practices. Major themes from gender and urban studies include domestic/public divisions, sexuality and city spaces, consumption, and urban design. Emphasizes integration of theoretical positions and ideas into students' work.

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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Course | T SUD 444

Green Internationalism And The City

Explores the influence of global ecological politics on urban policy and development as well as the impacts that new forms of urbanization have on global ecological politics. Interrogates key interdisciplinary debates within global political economy, political ecology, and urban studies.


Gregory Lund

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News | February 1, 2024

History uncovered: UW research finds thousands of past racial restrictions in Kitsap

Reported in The Kitsap Sun By Peiyu Lin It’s not a secret that Kitsap County possesses a history of segregation, where some areas of the peninsula were only allowed to sell or rent to white people in the early and mid-20th century. But a specific geographic distribution of the over 2,300 properties that carry racial…

News | February 18, 2020

Homes are selling in Tacoma at fastest rate in nation, Redfin says in new report

Last May, Redfin elevated Tacoma on the nation’s real estate map with a report saying the city was the nation’s hottest market.  That distinction was just given again. On Thursday, the real estate company’s blog reported Tacoma was the fastest-selling metro market nationwide in January. Tacoma also ranks high as a competitive market, with 34.2…

News | March 8, 2017

Honoring Women Collaborators at Urban@UW

In honor of International Women’s Day, we are highlighting just some of UW’s brilliant female professors, scholars, and and change-makers with whom Urban@UW is proud to collaborate. Click on their names to explore their work.   Leadership: Thaisa Way, Executive Director, Urban@UW; Department of Landscape Architecture Executive Committee: Margaret O’Mara, Department of History Susan P….

News | July 8, 2022

Housing boom around University Village: Will it be a real Seattle neighborhood?

Most of Seattle’s growing urban neighborhoods surround light-rail stations, but at least one is sprouting around an upscale, open-air shopping center. There are more than 2,300 new apartments recently completed, currently under construction or planned in the blocks that encircle University Village, a sprawling collection of stores, restaurants, plazas and parking lots located northeast of…

Course | T URB 480

Housing in the United States

Examines the principles, concepts, and tools central to housing in the United States. Acquire a broad knowledge base of state and federal housing markets, policies/programs. Identify appropriate policies to suit multiple urban contexts. Develop an understanding of at least one innovative approach to address the need for affordable housing.

News | April 4, 2024

How do wildfires affect mental health? A new UW study examines the connection

Originally reported in the Seattle Times by Taylor Blatchford Checking air quality and staying indoors when smoke inundates the Seattle area has become second nature during Washington’s wildfire season in recent years. But new research highlights how wildfires can affect a less visible aspect of well-being: mental health. A University of Washington study published in…

News | August 30, 2018

How racism kept black Tacomans from buying houses for decades

Honorably discharged after serving in the Korean War, the young man looked to settle down in Tacoma with his wife. If only they could convince someone to show them a home. If they got to a house first, the real estate agent would leave upon seeing them. They learned to park down the street and…

Course | T URB 205

Images of the City

Examines how the city is portrayed through various media and how those portrayals affect society's perception of urban places. Discusses imagery from films, literature, television, newspapers, and magazines. Considers images linked to such elements as crime, ethnic enclaves, downtown areas, and suburbia.

Course | T URB 250

Immigration, Race, And American Cities

Discusses the history of immigration and peopling of the U.S., focusing primarily on issues related to race, class, ethnicity, and gender in American cities since the nineteenth century.

Course | T GIS 312

Intermediate GIS

Examines GIS techniques that range from spatial analysis using vector and raster data models, to the analysis of three dimensional surfaces in urban space.

Course | T URB 399

International Urban Studies

Urban Studies courses taken through UWT foreign study program.

Course | T URB 110

Introduction to Digital Urban Data Analysis

Provides a methodological foundation to digital research and data analysis technologies to build a unique set of urban analytical tools.

Course | T GEOG 101

Introduction To Geography

Broad introduction to the field of geography within the context of globalization. Topics include the relationship between humans and their environment, the role of culture in landscape change, economic development, geopolitics, and urban systems.

Course | T GIS 502

Introduction to Geospatial Technology

Provides an introduction and overview of the role that geospatial technologies play in contemporary urban and environmental planning scenarios. Focuses on the applications and techniques that are core elements of the graduate program in Geospatial Technologies.

Course | T UDE 210

Introduction To Urban Design History And Theory

Provides an historical overview of urban design practice and its political economy, allowing students to learn about the intellectual trajectory of the discipline, both within and outside the structures of power.

Course | T URB 220

Introduction to Urban Planning

Introduction to the planning process. Presents and discusses the major planning sub-fields. Topics include housing, transportation, recreation, environmental planning, and preservation planning. Examines techniques associated with growth controls and land use management. Introductory course for students with planning emphasis.

Course | T URB 200/350

Introduction to Urban Research

Introduction to research methods pertinent to the study of urban issues, society and culture. Emphasizes the logic of the scientific method, understanding the interrelated stages of the research process, understanding and critiquing quantitative and qualitative research literature, and learning strategies for gathering and analyzing data.


J. Mark Pendras

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James Harrington

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Jessi Quizar

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Jim Thatcher

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News | January 23, 2020

Land banking in the heart of Tacoma

There is a city block in the heart of Tacoma some people believe is not being put to its best use, stifling economic growth and blunting vitality. Four buildings and three parking lots now occupy 11 parcels along Tacoma Avenue, not far from the City-County Building. Six of the parcels have been tied up since 2005,…

Course | T URB 322

Land Use Planning

Examines the land use planning process at the local level with a focus on the contemporary United States. Review of theories of land use change, arguments for and against planning intervention, and the role of the land use planner in the local land development arena.

News | April 26, 2024

Leave the imported shrimp, take the local bivalves: sustainable seafood choices

Reported by Kim Malcolm and John O’Brien for KUOW, a NPR news station.  Seafood and the Pacific Northwest go hand in hand. Maybe you’re one of those people out fishing, clamming, and crabbing during the season. But if you’re more of a shopper, your options aren’t all local and sustainable. Jessica Gephart is an assistant professor…

Course | TCMP 571

Legal Urbanism

Explores the relationship between law and the city, examining how "law" situates cities and urban residents in the US and shapes behaviors and environments in cities. Considers how legal structures enable or inhibit urban social justice and how they might be used to advance socially just and sustainable urban conditions.


Lisa Hoffman

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News | August 25, 2020

Livable City Year research leads to publication on university–community partnerships

Anne Taufen, associate professor of Urban Studies at UW Tacoma, and Anneka Olson, graduate of UW Tacoma’s Community Planning MA program, recently published an article examining the Livable City Year program, a university-community partnership at the University of Washington. This work was partially supported through Urban@UW. “Especially in this time of polarization, with problems like…

News | March 13, 2024

Looking inward for pollution In his latest research, Dr. Dan Jaffe looks to the kitchen as a source for indoor pollution in the home.

Excerpted from the University of Washington- Bothell website.  For more than 30 years, Dr. Dan Jaffe has spent his career researching outdoor air pollution and its many sources — from wildfires to fossil fuels. In recent years, however, his curiosity has shifted inward as he looks to answer the question: “How clean is our indoor…

News | October 18, 2022

Making cities more equitable: Meet Davon Woodard

It’s fair to say Davon Woodard is downright passionate about urban spaces—particularly making them more equitable and livable for the diverse communities that inhabit them. “Everyone has a right to a home (city) which is reflective of and respectful of their lived experiences,” he wrote. “My work is guided by that principle.” Davon is an…

Course | T GIS 311

Maps and GIS

Introduction to map interpretation and basic spatial analysis through the use of geographic information systems (GIS). Emphasizes developing, through hands-on experience, a fundamental understanding of GIS and the technical expertise necessary for applying GIS in a variety of scenarios such as environmental science, urban planning, nursing, social work, and business.


Matthew Kelley

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News | March 29, 2024

Muslims observing Ramadan at Tacoma ICE center aren’t receiving timely meals, immigration advocates say

Originally published by KUOW  Written by Diana Opong The month of Ramadan is a time of holy celebration, but some Muslim people held at the privately run Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma say they aren’t being given clean clothes daily, nor timely meals before and after fasting. Naeem, a 52-year-old man being held at…

News | March 15, 2024

Neighborhood Poverty May Impact Women’s Ovarian Reserves

Reported by Lori Solomon at Health Day News FRIDAY, March 15, 2024 — Living in a neighborhood with greater poverty in adulthood is tied to lower ovarian reserve, according to a study published online March 5 in Menopause. Anwesha Pan, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues aimed to examine the association between…

News | February 1, 2024

New nonpartisan AI nonprofit TrueMedia, led by Oren Etzioni, is making a political deepfake detector

Published in GeekWire By Todd Bishop A new nonprofit, nonpartisan technology organization called TrueMedia is developing an AI-powered tool to detect deepfake videos, photos, and audio, aiming to combat political disinformation in the leadup to the 2024 elections. Founded and led by Oren Etzioni, University of Washington professor and former CEO of the Allen Institute…

News | March 29, 2024

Office-to-residential conversion is a trendy idea for downtown resurgence — but has big challenges

Originally published in Geekwire Written by Chuck Wolfe, longtime affiliate associate professor in College of Built Environments at the University of Washington. Office-to-residential conversions are frequent fodder in discussions of the post-pandemic city, downtown regeneration, and hopes to contain rising housing costs. Remote work is here to stay, especially in hybrid form in the tech-centric…

News | July 16, 2020

Opportunities to engage UW faculty and students to address COVID-19

In recognition of the intense needs of local governments around COVID-19 response and recovery, the LCY program has compiled a list of existing UW courses whose faculty and students are seeking to assist local communities in COVID-related projects. Most projects can start in Autumn 2020 — some as early as Summer 2020. The list of…

Course | T URB 430

Pacific Rim Cities

Examines links between urbanization and globalization on the Pacific Rim and connections between events and social/economic processes in places that seem distinct (e.g., China, Canada, Mexico, Philippines). Case studies and discussion topics include questions of class formation, political change, migration patterns, and gender/family dynamics.


Pierpaolo Mudu

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Course | T URB 479

Planning and Development in the Puget Sound Region

Examines the problems and prospects associated with rapid growth in the Seattle-Tacoma urban region. Includes site visits and discussions with public officials, planners and developers. Topics/sites vary and include such issues as growth management, sprawl, transportation, sustainable development, land use, and environmental protection.

Course | TCMP 572

Planning For Equity

Provides an overview of the equity planning tradition in urban affairs and community planning. Introduces participatory process, democratic deliberation, and inclusive management. Emphasizes planning skills for recognizing, empowering, and resourcing groups and individuals with historical, economic, and operational disadvantages in processes of urban development and decision-making.

Course | T URB 450

Planning for Sustainability

Examines the growing impact of global sustainability on local spatial planning systems, especially in the US, UK, Europe and South Africa. Specific topics include the philosophies, theories, goals, techniques, and institutional politics of sustainability planning.

Course | TCMP 521

Planning Theory And Practice

Explores how community planners and other actors engage theories of planning procedures and preferred urban forms to guide urban development and social change. Considers how leading scholars in the field have theorized the potential and challenges of planning.

Course | TSMG 440

Political Geography: Territory, State and Society

Introduction to political geography from the perspective of political economy and the politics of difference. Discusses both critical approaches to human geography and geographical interpretations of the state. Emphasizes spatial dimensions of capitalist development as mediated by urban, national and global politics.

Course | T GEOG 440

Political Geography: Territory, State And Society

Introduction to political geography from the perspective of political economy and the politics of difference. Discusses both critical approaches to human geography and geographical interpretations of the state. Emphasizes spatial dimensions of capitalist development as mediated by urban, national and global politics.

Course | TCMP 573

Power And Decentralization

Presents theoretical frameworks for analyzing political power in collaborative networks. Introduces analytic methods for understanding and anticipating how power operated in decentralized governance, including the ways in which community groups and urban stakeholders can identify key coalitions, political frames, and entry points in processes of urban development and resource allocation.

Course | T URB 312

Race and Poverty in Urban America

Examines current research, policy, and debate surrounding race and poverty in urban America. Includes affirmative action, the changing family, cultural identity, the inner-city crisis, interracial relationships, residential segregation, and the working and non-working poor.

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 | April 8, 2024

Seattle Civic Poet Shin Yu Pai launches new public poetry project on April 1

Originally reported in Northwest Asian Weekly by Kai Curry. National Poetry Month takes place every year in April. Its purpose is to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry nationwide. This year, Seattle residents will have the privilege and pleasure of discovering, installed throughout various parts of the city, poems by local poets on topics of…

News | April 26, 2024

Seattle’s troubled past and present suggest a new approach to mental health

Written by Will James, Sydney Brownstone, and Esme Jimenez as part of the series “Lost Patients” for KUOW, an NPR Station. Edward Moore, a 32-year-old sailor, was discovered, near freezing and living in a tattered tent on the shore near current day Seattle in 1854. At the time, Washington was still a territory and Seattle…

News | February 1, 2024

Should social media pay for addicting kids? Seattle schools lawsuit gains steam

Reported by KUOW Written by Sami West A year into Seattle Public Schools’ lawsuit against social media companies, the case is gaining traction. More than 50 school districts in Washington state — and dozens more across the country — have joined Seattle’s lawsuit. Seattle became the first district to sue social media platforms last January,…

Course | T SUD 425

Social Justice and Urban Sustainability

Examines sustainable urban development from a social justice perspective. Draws from key theories and practices to explore how and why to incorporate social justice into sustainable urban development politics and policies and the challenges facing such efforts.

News | January 8, 2021

Spanaway tops list of toughest places in the U.S. to buy a home

When Eric Seiler started looking to buy a house near Spanaway at the height of this year’s coronavirus lockdowns, he thought he might find a buyers’ market. Instead, Seiler and his fiancée started on a home search that involved making at least 15 offers on homes, only to be beat out by other buyers. “There…

News | November 16, 2021

Spark Grants foster research on community-centered environmental infrastructure, supporting collaborations amidst pandemic

Over the past year, two teams of researchers from the University of Washington tackled a host of urban challenges in our region with the support of Urban@UW’s Research Spark Grants. In August 2020 grants of up to $20,000 were awarded to amplify collaborative research-to-practice with a focus on today’s urban issues. Two UW teams of…

Course | T URB 225

Statistics for Urban Analysis

Introduces basic methods of both descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, and applies them to topics common to the field of urban planning and community development. Develops a critical perspective on how such methods relate to public discourse and urban policy-making.

News | February 16, 2024

Student Housing Has a New Mantra: Bigger Is Better

Written by Kevin Williams for The New York Times Off-campus complexes are getting larger, with some being home to more than 1,500 students, and being built on prime parcels of land as close to campus as possible. When the Standard, an off-campus student housing complex, opened in the fall in Bloomington, Ind., welcoming its first…

Course | T URB 380

Study Abroad: Comparative International Perspectives on Cities and the Environment

Interdisciplinary approach to integrating urban and environmental issues in two or more world cities. Topics may include coastal development, transportation, parks, marine conservation, indigenous cultures, environmental planning, gentrification, urban governance, and watershed management.

Degree Program

Sustainable Urban Development (BA)

Accomplishing sustainable urban development is a crucial challenge for the twenty-first century. The University of Washington Tacoma is at the forefront of engaging and educating undergraduate students on this topic. The Sustainable Urban Development degree provides students with a critical and rigorous training in ecological, political, economic, and social aspects of urban development processes.

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Course | T URB 323

Sustainable Urban Development Policies

Examines how public policy mechanisms are used to support and accomplish sustainability through the interweaving of social equity, economic prosperity, and environmental protection. Encourages the development of both critical and constructive perspectives on policies of sustainability.

Course | T URB 360

The African American Urban Experience

Places African Americans at the center of the American urban condition from the colonial era to the 21st century. Interdisciplinary study of U.S. urban history, contemporary social, cultural and policy research and comparative perspectives on race and ethnicity to illuminate the growth and evolution of African American urban communities.

Course | T URB 440

The City and Nature

Examines connections between urban and environmental conditions by investigating the social and material production of urban nature. Challenges conceptual barriers between nature and the city that have evolved over time and considers new strategies for achieving both environmental sustainability and social justice in the city.

Course | T SUD 240

The City and Nature

Examines connections between urban and environmental conditions by investigating the social and material production of urban nature. Challenges conceptual barriers between nature and the city that have evolved over time and considers new strategies for achieving both environmental sustainability and social justice in the city.

News | February 27, 2020

The Debate Over Single Family Housing

Nearly a century into the story of single-family zoning, feelings and ideas around it are starting to shift. The City of Minneapolis and the State of Oregon both recently passed laws that loosen single-family regulations. California has proposed similar measures: some have failed (such as one encouraging denser development near transit), others have succeeded (such…

Course | T URB 321

The History of Planning Theory and Practice

An examination of planning theory and practice with an emphasis on twentieth-century theorists and advocates. Examines the impacts of planning theories and movements on planning practice and urban form in Europe and America.

Course | T URB 301

The Urban Condition

An overview of the city as a place of residence, commerce, and industry. Consideration is given to urban form and function. Social, economic, and political factors affecting urban life and development are discussed. Issues related to social justice and equity are emphasized.

News | July 18, 2017

There’s a map for that

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…

News | March 19, 2024

To report or not report ‘suspicious people’ near campus

Originally reported in The Daily by Shira Sur It took three encounters with a person threatening bypassers near the West Campus dorms for first-year student Hannah Whitemarsh to call 911. Whitemarsh’s call to UWPD, which was made in mid-October of 2023, was transferred to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). After she was asked whether the…

News | March 31, 2016

Towards a Speculative Politics for African Cities with Edgar Pieterse – 4/12

Join us April 12 at Kane Hall (Room 120) for Visiting Scholar Edgar Pieterse, Please Register for this Public Event Towards a Speculative Politics for African Cities The available frames to understand and reimagine contemporary urban politics in the African context come down two divergent pathways: 1) build the institutional infrastructure to enact the deliberative…

News | February 16, 2024

Transit workers fight drugs on buses and trains

Written by Joseph Gallivan for Axios Oregon Transit companies are pushing to make it a Class A misdemeanor to use drugs on buses and trains in Oregon. TriMet, the Oregon Transit Association, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 testified yesterday to support amending Senate Bill 1553. The amendment would add the use of illicit drugs…

Course | T URB 432

Understanding Metropolitan Regions

Explores patterns and policy problems associated with managing large U.S. metropolitan regions, especially shifting city-suburb relationships and major development challenges. Includes discussion of demographic change, socioeconomic trends, public policies, and political programs link cities and suburbs at multiple scales of governance.

News | March 13, 2024

University of Washington study finds cities must prioritize youth mental health

Excerpted from KOIN/Channel Six in Portland Written by Michaela Bourgeois Researchers at the University of Washington conducted an international survey that found cities need to focus on youth mental health as younger generations flock to urban areas. Starting in April 2020, researchers worked with the nonprofit citiesRISE to survey over 500 people in 53 countries…

Course | T URB 324

Urban And Regional Economics

Uses economic frameworks to introduce the determinants of regional economic growth or decline, location of economic activities within urban areas, operation of urban labor markets, and implications of income inequality on urban form and urban growth. Students gain familiarity with major sources of subnational economic and demographic data.

Course | T URB 201 / 401

Urban Change and Development

Examines relationships that shape the development of cities under conditions of globalization. Overview of key terms and concepts, examples of changing urban social and economic conditions, and analysis of connections among global processes, urban experiences, and the production of urban space in the United States.

Course | T URB 445 / T SUD 445

Urban Ecology

Multidisciplinary approach to the study of dynamic interactions among human and ecological systems in urban settings. Covers processes of urbanization and urbanization's impacts on the earth's ecology. Specific themes include how socioeconomic factors and human preferences drive urban patterns and how these patterns affect ecological processes and cause ecological change.

Course | T SUD 445

Urban Ecology

Multidisciplinary approach to the study of dynamic interactions among human and ecological systems in urban settings. Covers processes of urbanization and urbanization's impacts on the earth's ecology. Specific themes include how socioeconomic factors and human preferences drive urban patterns and how these patterns affect ecological processes and cause ecological change.

Course | T URB 379

Urban Field Experience

Urban field course based in a metropolitan area. Examines urban problems, issues, and developments through site visits, presentations by local experts, and student research and reports.

Course | T GEOG 321

Urban Geography

Examines the spatial organization of cities in relation to the economic, social, cultural, and political forces that shape them. Includes such topics as the evolution of cities, perceptions of urban space, gentrification, race and housing, homelessness, social exclusion, urban redevelopment, suburbanization, and planning. Emphasizes U.S. cities.

Course | T URB 345

Urban Governance

Examines the structure and workings of urban government and non-governmental agencies and organizations. Considers the responsibilities and challenges of governmental and non-governmental organizations along with their impact on the physical and social development of the city.

Course | T URB 460

Urban Issues in the Developing World

Examines challenges associated with urban development and societal change in developing countries. Examines topics such as mega cities, squatter housing, and informal labor. Adopts a geographical perspective and focuses on local governance issues.

Course | TSMUS 417

Urban Problems and Policies

Develops and applies economic analyses to an understanding of the dynamics and underlying structure of urban economies and urban problems. Draws examples from the local economy and local problems.

News | November 22, 2022

Urban Scholar Highlight: Rubén Casas

This is the first in a series of interviews from Urban@UW highlighting the research of urban scholars at the University of Washington. Earlier this month, Urban@UW spoke to Rubén Casas, Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Urban Studies at the University of Washington…

Course | T URB 340

Urban Social Change

Examines issues that directly affect the strength and vulnerabilities of urban communities and organizations and institution within those communities. Uses case studies to consider how creative participatory approaches can and do influence change.

Course | T URB 210

Urban Society and Culture

An examination of the social structures of cities. Discusses issues related to class, race, ethnicity, and gender. Considers the impact of societal differences on urban form, residential patterns, and labor markets.

Degree Program

Urban Studies (Cert, BA, MA, MS)

The Urban Studies Program offers a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies with formal options in Global Urbanism and Community Development & Planning. The degree starts with an introduction into the discipline of urban studies with course topics on exploring cities, world development, and urban studies “in practice”. The formal options deliver focused theory and…

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Course | T URB 492

Urban Studies Seminar

Interdisciplinary approach to the study of urban issues and problems. Designed for an in-depth analysis of selected issues. Focuses on one aspect of the city (e.g., gentrification, housing, segregation, sprawl).

Course | T URB 325

Urban Transportation: Problems and Prospects

Provides an overview of urban transportation, it challenges and prospects. Examines historical and contemporary issues such as the relationship of mobility to the urban form, environmental concerns, climate change impacts, and the challenges of sustainable urban transportation.

News | March 1, 2022

Urban@UW anti-displacement workshop generates connections, ideas, and opportunities for further partnership.

On January 25th and 26th, Urban@UW hosted a virtual workshop that brought together researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and community partners to elevate key perspectives and facilitate cross-boundary discussions and action around the capacity for people to stay in place and stay in the community in the face of displacement.  The workshop built on discussions initiated by…

News | June 9, 2022

Urban@UW brings together scholars, authors and artists for a roundtable conversation on environmental justice

On May 16th, 2022, Urban@UW’s Urban Environmental Justice (UEJ) Initative hosted a virtual roundtable entitled, “Place and Politics in the Pursuit of Environmental Justice”, examining the ways a changing climate and extreme weather events are giving shape to local places, communities, and politics. With a recognition that today’s urban challenges are embedded with critical inequities…

News | October 20, 2017

Urban@UW compiles Faculty Highlights Report for research, teaching and engagement on homelessness

As part of its recently launched Homelessess Research Initiative, Urban@UW has collaborated with faculty and staff across all three UW campuses to compile a broad-ranging selection of powerful and robust projects addressing homelessness from a research lens. Check out the Faculty Highlights Report to learn more about these efforts and the people behind them.

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 | March 15, 2024

UW’s College of Built Environments Professor Faces an Electrifying Challenge

Reported by Jen Moss for the University of Washington’ College of Built Environments King County Metro (Metro), which serves a daily average of over 250,000 riders across more than 203 square miles of the county, has an emissions challenge. Their zero-carbon emissions target, set by the King County Council, must be met by 2035. This…

News | January 23, 2024

What Happened to Seattle’s Relationship with Boeing?

The aftermath of the Alaska blowout reveals that the connection is slowly unraveling. From Seattle Met Written by Benjamin Cassidy IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH of the fuselage blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight earlier this month, Margaret O’Mara noticed something that would’ve once been unthinkable in Seattle. The University of Washington history professor observed that locals…

News | December 24, 2020

What is a Community Land Trust? And could one help with Tacoma’s homelessness crisis?

When Tacoma Housing Now took over vacant Gault Middle School in November to shelter unhoused people, the action came with a list of demands. The most prominent of them insisted on making Gault, which has sat vacant for a decade, part of a Community Land Trust, also called a CLT. In Tacoma, CLTs aren’t a new idea….


Yonn Dierwechter

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