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CBE Community, Environment, and Planning alum encounters experiences of a lifetime during his undergraduate career

Elijah Mason stepped through the door of his second-ever UW College of Built Environments (CBE) class. He was nervous, but also excited. “I chose the course because it was a planning practicum,” explains Mason. “We were going to be doing real work for the community, not just handing in assignments.”

MIPM Alumna is UW’s first Seismic Resilience Program Manager

Last October, a University of Washington research team presented a study at The Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Seattle that simulated 50 different scenarios for a magnitude-9.0 earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone—a large rift in the Earth’s crust 50 miles off the Pacific Northwest coast. There, the Pacific sea floor of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate sinks beneath the North American plate to produce one of the world’s most dangerous earthquake faults.

Stretching 600 miles from Cape Mendocina in Northern California to Canada’s Vancouver Island, the Cascadia subduction zone has produced at least 20 magnitude 9 earthquakes over the past 10,000 years. When the last one occurred 318 years ago, it sent a tsunami crashing against the Washington and Oregon coast that was felt as far away as Japan.

When the next subduction zone earthquake will occur can’t be predicted, but geological odds say the chance of a “Big One” is not a matter of if, but when. That analysis could strike some as a grim inevitability—cause for resignation in the face of assured eventual catastrophe. But one UW staff member is educating against that tendency: Stacie Louviere.

Since September 2015, Louviere has served as the UW’s first Seismic Resilience Program Manager, part of a larger four-person Emergency Management team who work year-round from an operations space on the ground floor of the UW Tower.

Louviere’s own interest in Emergency Management developed as she studied for her Master’s in Infrastructure Planning and Management (MIPM) at the UW after graduating with a bachelor’s in Political Science and Economics from Western Washington University. The MIPM is offered by the Department of Urban Design and Planning and administered in partnership with UW Continuum College.

While studying at the UW, Louviere trained in understanding of infrastructure systems with an eye to increasing resiliency and sustainability within each system in the wake such events as civil unrest, terrorist acts, extreme natural events, climate change, and other, more common accidents.

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Arch Alumna Mariam Kamara to Mentor under Sir David Adjaye

Mariam KamaraUW alumna Mariam Kamara (M.Arch ’13) has been named one of the protégés of this year’s Rolex Arts Initiative Protégée where she will be mentored by world-renowned architect Sir David Adjaye.

This year, the award paired young talent with leaders in the fields of architecture, dance, literature, and music.

Mariam is a founder and principal of atelier masomi, in Niamey Niger, an architecture firm whose interests lie in designing culturally, historically and climatically relevant solutions to spatial problems inherent to the developing world. She is also a founding member of Seattle-based collaborative united4design through which she worked on two major projects in West Africa, and she recently began an appointment as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Urban Studies at Brown University in spring 2017.

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Celebrated Change Maker: Diane Sugimura

20050330-03-007Diane Sugimura, MUP ’07 spent 38 years working for the City of Seattle and for the last 14 years of her career led the City’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD), responsible for the full range of development activities.

During that time, she worked with six mayors and through the economic highs and lows experienced by our changing metropolis. “When I started at the City, it seemed that each year the powers-that-be would question whether we needed a planning function and if so, how it should be organized, what its responsibilities should be, and of course, how to fund the programs,” Sugimura said. It was a disheartening experience during those early years when the City was debating what to do about planning in Seattle.

Sugimura explains her career in planning came from her desire to contribute to positive change in her community and despite hurdles, she stayed committed. “My early mentor, Beatrice Ryan, had faith in my ability to learn and grow, and challenged me to challenge her during policy discussions. Since then, I have relied on a range of deputy mayors and mayors’ chiefs of staff for advice and assistance. While each administration was different, and the people unique, there was something to learn from them all,” Sugimura said.

In 2002, Mayor Nickels re-organized a number of City departments and brought planning and development together for the first time, and asked Sugimura to lead the new department. She believes the change was significant and facilitated an improved relationship between the two functions, streamlining coordination between the development of policies and new codes, with the implementation of those policies. Not everything worked the first time around, particularly on leading-edge ideas, like in the mid-1980s when the department was proposing the integration of mixed-use development projects.

In addition to the re-org, Mayor Nickels introduced the Race and Social Justice Initiative to all City employees, a bold new plan, which first looked internally at how City employees worked together. Sugimura explains the change was big and took time for the City family to evolve.

diane-sugimura-dayAnother change, implemented in 2006, was to bring the City’s interdepartmental Green Building Team together to work within the DPD. New policies and programs were adopted, such as green factor landscaping provisions inspired by a program in Berlin, Germany. Continued work on stronger energy codes, regulations to encourage smaller more efficient structures, new built green and LEED standards, additional support for use of alternative transportation options, and the Living Building Challenge ordinance, were all put in place.

In correlation with the updates, one of Diane’s most important projects was to help lead the redesign of the City’s comprehensive plan, now called Seattle 2035. She explains, the new plan better recognizes the value of urban villages and continues the commitment to support this strategy, encouraging development where infrastructure investments have been or will be made.

Sugimura said the City was committed to keeping the same four core values in mind – building community, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, and social equity. The values are the same, but some of the emphasis has changed, such as adding “race” to social equity. “While our values haven’t changed, our demographics have and the equity gap has expanded. A great city is only sustainable if a broad range of people can live, work, and enjoy the city together,” Sugimura said.

To foster equity, Sugimura and her team analyzed the city, defining areas with low or high access to opportunity, and low or high risk of displacement. With the 2016 creation of the Office of Planning and Community Development, land use planning must now go hand-in-hand with transportation strategies, human services, public health, economic development, arts and culture, all in conjunction with working with the people of Seattle to build community, an approach Sugimura supports.

Through the changes, Diane kept her team focused on advocating for improved land use planning, coordinating with transportation alternatives and investments, working for more affordable housing options, strengthening neighborhoods, and becoming a climate-friendly city. And because of that focus, Sugimura left a legacy that exemplifies collaboration, inclusiveness, and opportunistic growth. Sugimura also acknowledges that not everyone in the city agrees with the changes that the City has put in place, but is confident the City has been, and is, heading in the right direction.

And while she retired from her position as director of DPD in 2015, she’s staying involved. She’s an active member with the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, an organization she’s been involved with since the early 1970s.

Sugimura also says her perspective has changed a bit. She’s now more interested in the people side of planning and how communities work and interact. She is currently chairing the Yesler Terrace Citizen Review Committee, which is looking at what it takes to create a successful neighborhood and will be participating in a tutoring program for Yesler residents. “Being involved with community activities helps bridge my personal and cultural interests, with my professional work in areas of community building, historic preservation, economic development, and helping to grow in an equitable way,” she said.

Diane Sugimura will deliver the College of Built Environments annual Dean’s Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 6:00pm in Architecture Hall, Room 147. The title: “The Portland Livestock Yard, The Move to Seattle, The Pike Place Market and Capitol Hill: What’s Planning Got To Do With It?”

Diane Sugimura holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Washington and a master’s degree from Oregon State University. In 2013, she was named a Living Building Hero by the International Living Future Institute and was honored as a Cascadia Fellow by the Cascadia Green Building Council. In 2016, she received the Municipal League Foundation’s Public Employee of the Year Award.


Designing for Mars

Mars_Ice_HouseIn September, NASA announced the winning submission to the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge to be Ice House. Designed by UW Master of Architecture alumnus Masayuki Sono, ’96, a founding partner of Clouds AO in New York City. Partnering with SEArch, Masayuki explains the concept proposes the primary material for the structure be the planet’s water supply, thought only to exist in the form of ice until a few weeks ago. The Ice House design is made up of two ice pods, one inside the other to insulate inhabitants from the Mars’ extreme climate. Astronauts would live within the inner pod, which is also surrounded by a vertical greenhouse. Using a 3D printer, Mars Ice House is built with translucent ice that shields the crew from radiation. For the submission, the team was asked to create a space that would accommodate four astronauts, use 3D printing techniques and incorporate elements already existing on Mars.

Maskayuki is also known for his design of the University of Virginia Art Museum, the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA and for the Staten Island 9/11 First Responders Memorial on Staten Island, NY.