College of Built Environments Ph.D. researcher Judy Bowes has been featured in a story, entitled “New research aims to reduce fatal bird collisions on campus” on UW News highlighting her project work. The video below dives into her work. Read the full story on UW News.
New Runstad Department of Real Estate Assistant Professor Vince Wang is shedding light on the mechanisms of sustainable, affordable housing and opening doors for student researchers.
For several years, the U-District Partnership has sought to figure out what kinds of investments and interventions might help bring optimism back to the Ave. In this effort, UDP reached out to the College of Built Environments for assistance. Might there be a chance to get CBE students involved in devising some solutions?
The College of Built Environments at the University of Washington has big dreams. Faculty, staff, and students are tackling issues of social and environmental justice and climate change. They’re seeking out innovations in sustainability, breaking out of disciplinary silos, and forging new collaborations
Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate, joined NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report to discuss the common myths believed to be the primary drivers of homelessness versus the actually demonstrated linkages between housing demand and pricing despite the varied wealth of cities. | Marketplace Morning Report
UW will be a core member of a consortium led by Stony Brook University that will build and operate The New York Climate Exchange – a carbon-neutral international hub focused on climate action and adaptation. | UW News
Concrete can sequester carbon, and the cement that glues its components together has been used since antiquity. Now, CBE professor Fred Aguayo is introducing students to the complex world of concrete research.
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.
An interdisciplinary research team, including University of Washington Associate Professor of Architecture Gundula Proksch, received $2 million in funding from the National Science Foundation’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) program. The funding will be used to combine engineered microorganisms with 3D printing to create materials for sustainable built environments.
The Research to Action Collaboratory (RAC), seeded by a catalytic $500,000 grant from the Bullitt Foundation, will bring together teams of UW scholars and community partners and support them with seed funds, intensive workshops to build team cohesion and collaboration skills, and peer support through the project cycles.
Associate Professor Tyler Sprague and senior architecture student Sierra Miles discuss the Benjamin McAdoo Research Collective, which seeks to share and cultivate appreciation for the work of Benjamin F. McAdoo, the first registered Black architect in Washington. | Seattle Times
The homelessness crisis continues to get worse. Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate, discusses his research on why we see variation in homelessness across U.S. cities. | The New York Times
As more cities search for explanations and solutions to homelessness, leaders look to data. Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate, is quoted. | Los Angeles Times
New research from the University of Washington, published June 2 in Food Policy, addressed equity issues surrounding sweetened beverage taxes by examining the economic equity impacts of sweetened beverage taxes in three cities: Seattle, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Philip Hurvitz, affiliate associate professor of urban design and planning is a co-author. | UW News
The history of American Unitarian church architecture is one that’s lesser-known. With this in mind, Ann Marie Borys, associate professor of architecture, wanted to provide context for two extremely highly regarded Unitarian projects of the 20th century that had only been written about independently. Her new book explores how they fit into the broader scope of Unitarian churches.
“American Unitarian Churches: Architecture of a Democratic Religion” explores Unitarian church design and the progressive ideals shown through them — ideals that were central to the founding of the United States. By situating Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple and Louis Kahn’s First Unitarian Church of Rochester in their full context, Borys writes about the interconnectedness of American democracy and American architecture.
We asked Borys about the book.
Why did you want to write this book?
I initiated the research in an effort to provide context for two extremely highly regarded architectural projects of the 20th century. Each one had been written about independently with regard to its place in the architect’s creative oeuvre and its “moment” in American architecture. And they had sometimes been discussed in relation to each other (though separated by 50 years) because they were both Unitarian churches. But there was very little written about how they fit into the broader scope of Unitarian churches.
I soon discovered that there were quite a lot of Unitarian churches from both the 19th and 20th centuries that were also architecturally significant. So the book that emerged became a narrative of Unitarian church design as a central factor in the development of American architecture itself.
Why has this contribution not been evident in narratives of American architectural history previously? Why is it important to bring this to light?
A simplistic explanation is that architectural history was first developed as a chronology of styles, and then a narrative of architect-heros. It was in the later part of the 20th century that larger social and cultural patterns began to be studied. By then, Unitarianism represented a very small portion of the population, and it was not widely understood to have historical roots connected with those of the country itself.
It is important partly because there are some misconceptions about the two buildings that prompted my research—Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, and Louis Kahn’s First Unitarian Church of Rochester. But more broadly speaking, it is important because it adds a significant body of work to an issue of theoretical importance: What is an ‘architecture of democracy’?
What’s the connection between faith and architecture?
This is a trick question with respect to Unitarian churches. Most faiths build churches that support specific rituals spatially, that express beliefs symbolically, and that aspire to place the church-goers in some relation to the divine. Unitarianism is unusual because it has never had rituals, and in the 20th century, the question of religious belief was transferred from clergy to the individuals. So there can be a wide variety of beliefs in any congregation. This makes the design of a memorable architectural space more difficult.
What elements of Unitarian spirituality are expressed through the architecture of its churches?
I found three things to be in the foreground of Unitarian churches: awareness of nature and with that, the interconnectedness of all things; respect for the individual coupled with responsibility for others; and the necessity for individuals to share knowledge and ideas in a community.
How are the ideals/values of Unitarianism shown through the design of their buildings/spaces?
The awareness of nature and natural processes is evident either directly through generous views promoting connection between the sanctuary and surrounding gardens or natural features or it is present through daylight and through the use of natural materials. Respect for the individual and for individual choice is evident in the way that doors into the sanctuary are located as one choice among others, and in the non-hierarchical arrangement of space in the sanctuary. The necessity to share ideas for the enrichment of all is present in the provision of ample social spaces in addition to a space for worship.
The combination of these features creates an architecture of democracy.
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
I hope that readers will understand that Unitarianism was a mainstream denomination in America throughout the 19th century, and that many of our country’s progressive social and cultural advancements were led by Unitarians. I hope that they will be able to appreciate how Unitarianism remains true to its original philosophies and values–values which were formed along with and were practically identical to the American democratic ideals articulated by the founding documents of this country. I hope they will understand that Unitarianism is a democratic religion, and that its architecture is an expression of authentically American ideals.
Architecture 508 Graduate Research Studio students talked about their ideas and solutions to add more housing in Seattle — a well-timed discussion as Seattle is updating its comprehensive plan. | KUOW
In January 2021, the College of Built Environments launched its new Inspire Fund to “inspire” CBE research activities that are often underfunded, but for which a relatively small amount of support can be transformative. The fund aims to support research where arts and humanities disciplines are centered, and community partners are engaged in substantive ways.
On May 20th, students hosted the virtual 2022 annual research symposium. The symposium explored the role of technology in our past, present, and future urban environments and how big data, smart cities, and other emerging technologies contribute to a sustainable and equitable world.
Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate, provides answers to frequently asked questions about housing and homelessness. | The Atlantic
Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate discusses his book and the city’s plan to end homelessness. | King 5
A global study led by Professor Marina Alberti investigating the impact urbanization has had on white clover shows that the plant is adapting to survive alongside us in Puget Sound. | Crosscut
There’s a big problem when it comes to fixing homelessness: The research-backed solution is not always the one the public agrees with. Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate, is quoted and his new book is discussed. | The Seattle Times
Humans re-shape the environments where they live, with cities being among the most profoundly transformed environments on Earth. New research now shows that these urban environments are altering the way life evolves. Marina Alberti, professor of urban design and planning, and the Urban Ecology Research Lab’s research is highlighted. | UW News
Concrete creates huge carbon emissions. Why can’t data center builders turn that around, and use biological material that stores carbon instead? The Carbon Leadership Forum at the College of Built Environments research is quoted. | Data Center Dynamics
Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate, believes housing market conditions — specifically, high housing and rental prices, and low vacancy rates — exacerbate economic and personal challenges for society’s most vulnerable. And it’s the housing market, aided by the private and public sectors, that can provide the solution. | UW News
The Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion is an iconic public recreational facility that provides entertainment and activities for people of all ages. Tyler Sprague, associate professor of architecture at the University of Washington, provides insight on how the structure came to be.
Master of Urban Planning Graduate, Isis Moon Gamble, dove into equity and access within the King County transit system in her thesis research, and we sat down with her to learn more.
Upstream, a winner of Metropolis’ inaugural Responsible Disruptors competition, is an open-source calculator that designers with a comprehensive view of the carbon impacts of their wood-based materials choices. Upstream was created in partnership with the College of Built Environments Applied Research Consortium and led by CBE student, Chuou Zhang. | Metropolis
Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture Catherine De Almeida remembers picking up trash on the playground, seeing people throw trash out their car window, and noticing trash flying around while she played outside as a child. The presence of litter in landscapes upset her so much that she would spend her elementary school recesses picking up trash.
To reduce the carbon footprint of the internet, students partner with Google and Microsoft to rethink the world’s data centers.
In cities across the Pacific Northwest and around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has shed new, harsh light on the preexisting societal conditions.
College is a time of exploration and discovery for all students. It is a time that often shapes how we view the world. Going through this transition during a moment of turbulence in the world can shape that experience significantly, which is exactly what happened for Assistant Professor of Real Estate, Arthur Acolin. As an undergraduate, international student in the US in 2008, the housing bubble and subsequent recession shaped Acolin’s future as a researcher and professor.
We are living through a new reality, adjusting to life during a global pandemic. We are all changing our routines, our travel plans, our holiday traditions. For those of us who have been able to keep our jobs through this economic crash, we have had to adapt to a new working environment, working from our homes. Some of us have transformed our homes to accommodate remote learning, and others have moved to be closer to family. Whatever your current living situation is, it’s almost assuredly different than it was a year ago.
The Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative and Co-PI’s Mark Jarzombek and Vikram Prakash are happy to announce its receipt of funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This $1,000,000.00, three year award will allow GAHTC to fund the production of teaching modules, as well as Teacher-to-Teacher Workshops and Global Connections Fellowships. This is the third installment of a grant that was first awarded in 2013 for a total of $3.5 million.
At a time of rapid technological change and professional specialization, we can easily forget that the most important mission of schools and universities is to offer inspiring and horizon-expanding teaching to the next generation. Survey courses play a particularly important role as they open the world to students and help give them critical purchase on their own landscapes and lives. A good survey course balances breadth with depth, but in an ever-expanding world that balance can be lost, meaning that the problem is not just how to teach students, but how to prepare teachers. The GAHTC’s mission is to provide cross-disciplinary, teacher-to-teacher exchanges of ideas and material, in order to energize and promote the teaching of all periods of architectural history in a global way, especially at the survey level. Via our online platform, our workshops, grants and conferences, we support teachers in the class room.
Goals and Implementation
We will therefore focus less on outreach and digital innovation and more on the primary mission of GAHTC, providing member-made quality teaching material free of charge to teachers. We will use the upcoming grant term to round out our library content and work toward a sustainability for the digital platform, through the auspices of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning.
We will strengthen the breadth of our library content by focusing on under-represented areas that we feel are important to the discipline, such as gender studies, aboriginal studies, African studies and First Societies.
By focusing on these core goals, we can make sure by the end of the grant cycle that GAHTC’s materials are well curated, easily accessible and known to the broader community interested in global architectural history teaching content. Having a reputable body of material that is easily accessible and known to the community gives GAHTC the best chance to become a lasting resource.
As the world builds the equivalent of an entire New York City every month, reducing the carbon emissions of materials is an imperative.
The Carbon Leadership Forum, in partnership with a coalition of more than 30 forward looking and innovative building industry leaders announce that they have taken on a long-elusive goal – measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of building materials. The result is the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (“EC3”) tool, an open source tool for architects, engineers, owners, construction companies, building material suppliers and policy makers to compare and reduce embodied carbon emissions from construction materials.
Between now and 2060 the world’s population will be doubling the amount of building floorspace, equivalent to building an entire New York City every month for 40 years. Most of the carbon footprint of these new buildings will take the form of embodied carbon — the emissions associated with building material manufacturing and construction. As a result, owners, designers, engineers and contractors are turning their attention to building materials and seeking information on these products so they can make informed, smart choices. This task has been fraught with problems – from the lack of data to data too complex to evaluate.
In response to this problem, Skanska USA and C Change Labs conceived of a solution that would enable the building industry to easily access and view material carbon emissions data, allowing them to make carbon smart choices during material specification and procurement. Initial development was jointly funded by Skanska and Microsoft, who determined that an open platform would provide maximum impact for the industry and society at large. To accelerate development of this solution, the Carbon Leadership Forum incubated the project with strong leadership and additional financial support from Autodesk, Interface, the MKA Foundation and the Charles Pankow Foundation, lead sponsor and grant manager. Subsequently, more than 30 other industry-leaders joined in.
“Our mission is to accelerate the transformation of the building sector to radically reduce embodied carbon,” said Kate Simonen, director of the Carbon Leadership Forum and professor in the College of the Built Environments at the University of Washington. “The EC3 tool is a great example of what can happen when our passionate and collaborative network comes together around a need.”
Industry sponsors include: Grant Administrator: Charles Pankow Foundation; Pilot Partners: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Microsoft Corporation,
Perkins and Will, Port of Seattle, Skanska USA, Walter P Moore and Associates, Inc., and Webcor; Association Partners: American Concrete Institute (ACI) Foundation, American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the BlueGreen Alliance; and Material Partners: Armstrong Ceiling and Wall Solutions, BASF Corporation, CarbonCure Technologies, Interface, Inc., Kingspan Group, and USG Corporation.
Additional support is provided by Technology Partners including Autodesk, Climate Earth, Sustainable Minds and Tally; EC3 Tool Methodology Partners: Arup, Brightworks Sustainability, Central Concrete Supply Co., Inc., Climate Earth, Katerra, KieranTimberlake, LeMessurierr, LMN Architects, National Ready Mixed Concrete Co., Owens Corning, Thornton Tomasetti, Urban Fabrick, WAP Sustainability and WRNS Studio. View the full list of collaborators at www.carbonleadershipforum.org.
The EC3 Tool: A Closer Look
Increasingly the building industry and owners are becoming aware that materials matter and are seeking ways to evaluate the emissions associated with making these materials, but they have not had a reliable or efficient way to compare them. As a result, while awareness and a desire to enact change have been high, few have found an avenue to effectively examine and evaluate the available material choices. The EC3 tool, an open-source tool, simplifies this complex problem and will allow users to easily see the embodied carbon impacts of the materials before consumption. Now users will have the information they need to make more informed decisions on embodied carbon, allowing them to enact positive change. Details on the EC3 tool will be made available November 2019. Collaborating partners will be demonstrating the product at Greenbuild, November 19-22, 2019 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA.
For more information on the Carbon Leadership Forum and the EC3 tool, including links to our partners’ announcements visit www.carbonleadershipforum.org
Visit www.buildingtransparency.org and register to have access to the EC3 tool. The tool will be released November 19, 2019.
List of all collaborators, including spokespersons, media contacts and quotes, available upon request.
Additional embodied carbon resources:
- Watch short video: Bill Gates on manufacturing emissions
- View World Green Building Council report ‘Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront’ released September 23, 2019
About the Carbon Leadership Forum
The Carbon Leadership Forum, built on a collective impact model, has amassed the largest network of architects, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, policy makers and academics to reduce the carbon impact of materials in buildings. Together, we have developed an extensive body of research and resources necessary to inform and empower our members, while building a robust collaborative network – the Embodied Carbon Network – that is inspiring and connecting our members to enact change. This has resulted in member-led initiatives, including the recent structural engineers embodied carbon challenge (SE 2050) and the development of the EC3 Tool. For more information visit: www.carbonleadershipforum.org.
Director, Carbon Leadership Forum
Media Contact, Carbon Leadership Forum
Download the PDF
Press Release announcing EC3 tool – Sept. 23, 2019.pdf
Several University of Washington schools and offices will team up to research how organizational practices can affect the interagency collaboration needed to keep the “internet of things” — and institutional systems — safe and secure.
Cooperating in the work, funded by the National Science Foundation, will be the UW College of Built Environments, College of Arts & Sciences and Jackson School of International Studies as well as UW Facilities and UW Information Technology.
Devices connected to the internet of things, now becoming standard components in new buildings, can increase energy performance while reducing costs. But such highly connected sensors can also bring potential security vulnerabilities.
And though technical solutions to such security concerns exist, implementing them can be impeded by differences in communication and work cultures between workers in information technology, and operations and maintenance. These challenges, together with a policy environment that rarely regulates internet of things devices, can increase risks and leave buildings vulnerable to attack.
The NSF in August awarded a grant of $721,104 over three years to the Communication, Technology and Organizational Practices lab in the College of Built Environment’s Construction Management Department to study how organizational policies and procedures can help — or hinder — the needed collaboration between information technology and operations and maintenance professionals. The lab is housed in the department’s Center for Education and Research in Construction.
Several UW faculty, staff and administrators are involved in the research. Co-principal investigators are Laura Osburn, a research scientist in the Center for Education and Research in Construction; and Carrie Dossick, professor of construction management.
Jessica Beyer, lecturer, research scientist and co-director of the Jackson School’s Cybersecurity Initiative also is an investigator, as is Chuck Benson, director of the UW’s new risk mitigation strategy program for the internet of things.
The three-year project will use the investigators’ expertise in communication, collaboration, cybersecurity policy and internet of things practices to study two critical areas:
- How operations and maintenance and information technology groups currently share their knowledge and skills to improve security for the internet of things; and
- How public policies and an organization’s own rules on privacy and security impact how information technology and operations and maintenance teams collaborate
The team will work on these issues through ethnographic research of university cybersecurity efforts, interviews with information technology and operations and maintenance professionals and case studies of cybersecurity efforts in the built environments of higher education.
A graduate research assistant and undergraduate students from the Jackson School’s Cybersecurity Initiative also will be involved in the work.
The aim is to better understand how elements of organization, practice and policy interact and affect collaboration in keeping the internet of things safe and secure — and to provide clear examples of how such elements might help or hinder the necessary collaboration to implement smart building technologies.
The interdisciplinary nature of the project is an important part of the approach, Osburn said.
“What’s most important about this project is finding ways to help technology experts from different departments and different disciplines work and communicate better together so that they can keep our buildings safe and make sure that the data that internet of things devices are collecting stay secure.”
Learn more at the project website.
NSF grant #1932769
Kim Eckart | UW News
Preliminary data from a survey of food and housing insecurity at the University of Washington’s three campuses shows that an estimated 190 students may lack a stable place to live, and about one-quarter of students have worried recently about having enough to eat.
Results of the online survey, conducted by UW faculty in 2018, are still being finalized. But an early look provides estimates of the numbers of students who could be considered homeless, who rely on food banks or skip meals, and for whom the costs of housing and food clearly present a challenge as they try to obtain a college degree.
As students nationwide grapple with the costs of living — hundreds of colleges and universities, including the UW, provide some form of food pantry, emergency housing and other forms of assistance — University of Washington faculty and administrators have wanted to identify the scope of the problem on the Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell campuses. Officials say these initial results help establish a baseline for quantifying, and addressing, food and housing issues among the university’s nearly 55,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
The researchers will discuss some of these findings Friday at a workshop called Higher Ed on Homelessness: Collaborating for Change. The event, held at El Centro de la Raza in Seattle, is organized by the UW, Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University.
“As the cost of living increases, we are seeing more cases where – in addition to the normal stresses and challenges of completing a college education – some of our students are struggling to maintain stable living situations and reliable nourishment,” said Denzil Suite, UW’s vice president for Student Life. “We certainly have a role in ensuring that our students are able to maintain these basic necessities, and we have taken important steps in that direction. These findings will help us not only assess the problem, but inform how we can continue to address it.”
Based on information contained in this study, the university will reconvene its task force on Food & Housing Insecurity to examine how to mitigate the challenges students are facing, Suite said.
“We must not romanticize the ‘starving student’ cliché,” said Lynne Manzo, an environmental psychologist, professor in the UW College of Built Environments and one of three faculty members who led the study. Nationwide, more low-income students are enrolling in college than students from middle-class families, a shift in demographics.
“We’re in an era now when we need to take those shorthanded scripts about poverty among students and look at them more seriously for the realities that students face, their vulnerabilities and what they need for their health and well-being,” Manzo said. “We need to rethink who our students are and what their needs are in a growing region that’s unaffordable.”
The idea for the survey began at a 2016 faculty summit hosted by Urban@UW, an interdisciplinary effort to tackle city issues through research, teaching and community collaboration. From that summit came the Homelessness Research Initiative (HRI), which connects faculty researchers involved in homelessness issues across the Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses. HRI’s initiatives have supported faculty in their efforts to, for example, develop a multidisciplinary social change curriculum, and establish a safe community hub for social services and identifying housing- and food-insecure UW students. This study was initiated and implemented by the faculty researchers themselves under the umbrella of Urban@UW and with the help of partnerships across the three campuses. UW Housing and Food Services and President Ana Mari Cauce’s Emerging Priorities Fund provided some financial support for the analysis.
The confidential, voluntary survey, administered during February and March 2018, posed a series of questions about current, past-month and past-year living situations, access to food, strategies for obtaining adequate food and housing, and sources of financial support. Methods for assembling a study sample varied slightly by campus: At UW Tacoma, a survey link was sent to all students; at the Bothell and Seattle campuses, students were sent the link at random. These different sampling strategies were used to balance the needs of each campus with a rigorous research approach.
From those efforts, 5,440 undergraduate and graduate students ages 18 and older responded, a 20% response rate based on the number of students who received the survey. The majority of respondents were from the Seattle campus, with one-fifth from UW Tacoma and one-tenth from UW Bothell. Two-thirds of respondents were female, and fewer than half were white, non-international students.
Researchers then weighted the results statistically to project data proportionate to the entire tri-campus population (referred to as “population-level data”).
Rachel Fyall, an assistant professor in the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance and one of the study’s three investigators, said the results are still being finalized and interpreted. No one can say authoritatively, for example, exactly how many students are living in vehicles. But this estimate reflects the likelihood of such a circumstance, given the statistical extrapolation from the sample data, she said.
“It is clear that a minority of our university population is struggling,” Fyall said. “They may be better off than some of the nonstudent population who are struggling with housing and food insecurity, but it is undeniable that there are substantial unmet needs at the UW.”
Other key findings include:
- About 160 people —an estimated 0.3% of the entire population —live in a car, shelter or “other area not intended for habitation.”
- In the year leading up to the survey, an estimated 4,800 to 5,600 students experienced housing instability: They spent nights in a vehicle, shelter or tent, or doubled-up with friends.
- More than one-third of students said they “sometimes” or “often” couldn’t afford to eat balanced meals, while 20% said they sometimes or often ran out of food, and didn’t have enough money to buy more.
- An estimated 9,400 to 10,500 students in a given month cut the size of their meals or skipped meals to keep their costs down.
- Some 21% said a rent increase in the last year had made it difficult to pay rent.
Similar studies at other universities around the country have turned up a wide range of data on student homelessness and hunger. Fyall, Manzo and co-author Christine Stevens, an associate professor of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership Programs at UW Tacoma, explained that differences in methodology, such as who is included in the study sample or how questions are worded, can impact outcomes and make it hard to accurately compare one study to another.
The UW study, for instance, includes graduate students, which many other food and housing insecurity studies haven’t done, and means many responses could come from students who support partners and children, as well.
The survey also relied on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of food insecurity: the reduced quality, variety and desirability in a person’s diet, sometimes alongside lower food intake. Surveys elsewhere have asked about “hunger,” which can generate different kinds of responses and interpretations.
UW researchers see a bottom-line takeaway: Students are struggling — some severely — with a lack of affordable housing and a generally high cost of living, while trying to go to class and achieve their goals.
Stevens, who helped launch a food pantry at UW Tacoma five years ago, said those survival issues — where to live and whether to eat — affect student health and success. If you don’t eat, you can’t concentrate, and you don’t do well in school, Stevens said. If you’re working multiple jobs to pay tuition and your bills, then the jobs probably come first.
“The problem is not in the students,” Stevens said. “The problem is in the economics of the system, the lack of financial aid to meet the need, and the lack of affordable housing to spend it on. We tend to look at the students as the problem, as separate from what is happening from the system-wide issues.”
In addition to the food pantry, UW Tacoma has funded a full-time case manager to identify student needs and alert faculty to available resources to help students. Private donors support an emergency aid program that offers primarily cash assistance to students, and the campus recently collaborated with the Tacoma Housing Authority and a private developer on a property-subsidy program to get homeless students into housing.
UW Bothell also has an emergency aid program, and a food pantry in two locations, one on campus and the other in student housing. New this school year is a Health and Wellness Resource Center, which, among other services, connects students with one-time rental assistance and helps them enroll in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
And on the Seattle campus, efforts to address food and housing insecurity have extended to both the campus population and to young people in the surrounding neighborhood.
After a significant increase in the number of student visits from one academic year to the next, the Any Hungry Husky program last fall expanded and made permanent its food pantry. Both the campus and partner organizations in Seattle’s University District have hosted quarterly pop-up events — part social service fair, part pay-as-you-can café — through The Doorway Project, an effort led by Josephine Ensign, a professor in the UW School of Nursing, and supported by the Homelessness Research Initiative.
“The health and welfare of our students is our primary concern. That starts with reliable housing and access to food,” Suite said. “This survey deepens our ongoing effort to fully understand the need that exists, and we are committed to reviewing and updating our efforts to support our students in the years to come.”
Researchers say their next step will be to examine the way food and housing needs are distributed across the student population. The team expects that different student populations have different levels of need around food and housing insecurity, and future findings will help the university consider how and where to target additional assistance.
NBBJ – a global architecture, planning and design firm – will donate a quarter of a million dollars to establish a ground breaking partnership with the University of Washington’s (UW) College of Built Environments (CBE). The gift will forge multiple relationships over many years, touching faculty, students and researchers who advance knowledge of our understanding of how the built environment positively affects human health and wellbeing.
The partnership will strive to translate basic research into action, create innovative solutions to design problems, and engage the next generation of leaders through the teaching and research at CBE and across the University of Washington. CBE dean Renée Cheng, FAIA, says partnerships like the one between NBBJ and the CBE are essential to define and identify solutions to the grand challenges of the 21st century.
“Connecting the knowledge loop between practices and academy is key towards ensuring our buildings foster and nurture human health. Partnerships between a leading design firm like NBBJ with a leading multidisciplinary college like ours will accelerate the impact of our research, directly benefiting our industry, our communities and society. While our initial focus will be on human health, we see this as a model for collaborative, complementary and applied research that this college can and will use to address the most urgent issues of our society – from finding smarter ways to deal with carbon to increasing affordable housing and addressing homelessness,” said Cheng.
“The built environment is a powerful tool to provoke change, and is inextricably linked to positive health outcomes,” said NBBJ Managing Partner Steve McConnell, FAIA. “The partnership between NBBJ and UW will advance the next generation of research related to design and health by anchoring it more deeply in project work and sharing it more broadly across competitive boundaries. Our entire industry – and ultimately our clients and the community at large – will benefit from its impact.”
NBBJ will engage with students and faculty from the CBE and across health sciences at the UW. The specifics of the multi-year partnership will evolve organically but it will engage faculty, students and practitioners in activities such as projects, studios, seminars, charrettes and symposia.
NBBJ creates innovative places and experiences for organizations worldwide and designs environments, communities and buildings that enhance people’s lives. Founded in 1943, NBBJ is an industry leader in designing corporate office, healthcare, commercial, civic, science, education and sports facilities. The firm has won numerous awards and has been recognized as the world’s “Most Innovative Architecture Firm” by Fast Company magazine. The firm has a history of spearheading innovative partnerships that provide benefit beyond its walls — including the creation of VR start-up Visual Vocal, the formation of NBBJ’s Fellowship program focused on neuroscience research, and a collaboration with Time Inc. to “hack” the future of work. Clients include Alibaba, Amazon, Beacon Capital Partners, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Boeing, Cambridge University, Cleveland Clinic, GlaxoSmithKline, Massachusetts General Hospital, Microsoft, Reebok, Salk Institute, Samsung, Stanford University, Starbucks, Tencent and Tishman Speyer. (http://www.nbbj.com)
Contact: Daniel Skiffington, email@example.com
About the College of Built Environments
The UW’s College of Built Environments (CBE) is one of a few institutions where Architecture, Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture, Construction Management, and Real Estate come together under one roof. The CBE has three foci which are professional practice, public service, and research and each serve the College, University, and community in profound ways. Its mission is to teach students to be skilled practitioners and strong collaborators, who are conscious of the natural environment and cultures they serve. (www.be.uw.edu)
Contact: Kailey Waring, firstname.lastname@example.org
“We acknowledge that we hold this world in trust and recognize the immediate threat climate change and its impacts pose to current and future generations,” reads a statement signed this fall by more than 100 construction-related companies and nonprofits.
“We must act urgently and collaboratively to transform the built environment from a leading driver of climate change to a significant and profitable solution.”
Such strong words of industry agreement are good news to Kate Simonen, architect, engineer and University of Washington associate professor of architecture. Simonen leads a UW-hosted research group called the Carbon Leadership Forum that brings together academics and building industry professionals to study carbon emissions across a building’s life cycle, or entire period of use, and to focus on reducing the amount of “embodied” carbon in building materials.
“Together, we can help draw down excess atmospheric carbon,” reads this Carbon Smart Building Declaration, “and create a built environment that supports a healthy, equitable, and sustainable human community.”
Carbon emissions from the built environment account for more than 40 percent of greenhouse gases worldwide, and must be dramatically reduced to combat the effects of climate change. Simonen says that construction of a single “low embodied carbon” office building could save 30 million kilograms, or 33,000 tons, in carbon emissions, Simonen says — “the emissions equivalent of avoiding driving a car around the Earth 3,000 times.”
Exciting, too, Simonen said, is a new, open-source tool to track the carbon emissions of raw building materials called the Embodied Carbon Calculator for Construction, or EC3 for short. The tool, developed by the Carbon Leadership Forum in collaboration with Skanska and Amsterdam-based C-Change Labs, can help construction professionals better report and reduce embodied carbon. No less an ally than Microsoft announced in September that it will pilot the calculator as the corporation remodels its campus. Funding for this has been provided by the Charles Pankow Foundation, the MKA Foundation and other building industry supporters such as carpet manufacturer Interface and the American Institute of Steel Construction.
The Carbon Leadership Forum is now an affiliate of EarthLab, a new institute at the UW seeking to connect academics with people working on these environmental challenges and translate science into practical solutions.
Simonen said she was encouraged by a standing-room-only audience for Carbon Smart Building Day, the new calculator tool and the fact that so many have signed the Carbon Smart Building Declaration.
“What this means,” she said, “is we are approaching global consensus on the challenge ahead and exciting momentum on where to act to increase impact.”
Simonen added that the Carbon Leadership Forum continues to work with industry and NGO partners to build awareness of embodied carbon in construction. Another ongoing initiative, she said, is the Embodied Carbon Network, a platform for engagement and information to help achieve the aim of a carbon-neutral built environment by the year 2050.
For more information, contact Simonen at 206-685-7282 or email@example.com.
Read more about embodied carbon and the Carbon Leadership Forum:
- New York Times: You’ve Heard of Outsourced Jobs, but Outsourced Pollution? It’s Real, and Tough to Tally Up, from September 2018
- UW News: Toward greener construction: UW professor leads group setting benchmarks for carbon across life of buildings, April 2017
- College of Built Environments: Moving Toward Zero: Q&A with Associate Professor Kate Simonen, March 2017
- UW News: A greener concrete? UW-led coalition seeks to reduce concrete’s carbon footprint, April, 2013