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Urban@UW Announces the 2023 Research to Action Collaboratory Inaugural Cohort

Published on April 17, 2023

Aerial photograph of the University of Washington Seattle campus
Aerial photograph of the University of Washington Seattle campus Image Credit: University of Washington

Urban@UW is excited to announce the project teams selected for the inaugural cohort of the Research to Action Collaboratory (RAC). Throughout the next 18 months, Urban@UW will work with these teams and provide seed funds, dedicated time to build team cohesion and collaboration skills, and foster opportunities for peer support and shared resources and learning.


Just Circular Communities: A Resiliency Framework to Support a Just Transition toward Regenerative Economies in Frontline Communities

The community-initiated and led Just Circular Communities (JCC) project seeks to address environmental injustices by developing community-owned and managed infrastructures as place-based circular economy jobs designed to address systemic displacement, economic stagnation, and resilience in Frontline neighborhoods within the Duwamish Valley. The JCC concept was developed in early 2021 to address the problem of “green gentrification” with community-owned green infrastructure assets.

This project will advance this concept by co-developing a community-led resiliency framework and implementation plan that aligns with the community’s vision for a Just Transition (JT) through community initiatives grounded in shifting toward regenerative economic models. As community lead, Sustainable Seattle will connect community members to this project by identifying and facilitating learning about and developing the JCC framework. This project supports ongoing visioning and planning work documented in the Duwamish Valley Action Plan, which was completed by the City with community participation.

Project Team:

Em Piro (Community Lead), co-director, Sustainable Seattle
Catherine De Almeida (Co-PI), assistant professor, Landscape Architecture
Gundula Proksch (Co-PI), associate professor, Architecture
Nat Gregorius, masters student, Landscape Architecture
Edwin Alberto Hernandez Reto, director, Duwamish Valley Sustainability Association
Cesar Lopez, project coordinator, Duwamish Valley Sustainability Association
Christoph Strouse, masters student, Urban Design & Planning


Collaboration on Extreme Heat Events: Building a Sustainable Regional Partnership for Innovations that Promote Public Health in Response to Climate Change

The goal of this project is to establish a collaborative network between practitioners and academics to share recent innovations and identify partnership opportunities that advance public health and improve community resilience in the face of increasing extreme heat.

When the 2021 Heat Dome hit the Pacific Northwest, the region was unprepared. This unusually intense heat wave was a public health emergency and resulted in increased deaths and emergency room visits. Following the Heat Dome, public health agencies were charged with preventing future heat waves from having such devastating health impacts. This project will encourage Public Health and its partners to identify actions to reduce heat transfer pathways at the landscape/urban, building, or individual levels. By the end of this project, participants will have improved the evidence base around extreme heat interventions in urban settings, identified future research needs, and strengthened regional public health collaboration.

Project Team:

Bradley Kramer (Community Lead), program manager, Public Health – Seattle & King County
Resham Patel (Co-PI), assistant teaching professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS)
Nicole Errett (Co-PI), assistant professor, DEOHS
Ashley Moore, PhD student, DEOHS
Mary Hannah Smith, research coordinator, DEOHS


The inaugural RAC teams will gather in early May to explore, discuss and build team-specific collaborative supports and project-specific plans. Learn more about how the Research to Action Collaboratory approaches building collaborative capacity, and how you can get involved.

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