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Engagement & Learning – Space Planning & Website Redesign

As you know, one of the strategic priorities for the college this year involves the space planning analysis work we are partnering on with KieranTimberlake (KT). We are also redesigning our website in partnership with Phinney Bishoff (PB) to ensure our physical and digital spaces reflect our values.

The input from you — students, staff and faculty — will be essential to the success of this work, and we are so fortunate to have such a well informed and knowledgeable community with which to engage!

Engagement Opportunities

WEDNESDAY OCT 26

Workshop 1 (Faculty/Staff)
8:30-10:00 Gould Court

Workshop 2 (Faculty/Staff)
2:00-5:00 Gould Court

Workshop 1 (Students)
10:30-11:30 Gould 110
Workshop 2 (Students)
11:30-1:20 Gould 110 (+Pizza)

THURSDAY OCT 27

Workshop 1 (Faculty/Staff)
8:00-9:30 Gould Court
Workshop 2 (Faculty/Staff)
12:00-3:00 Gould Court

Workshop 1 (Students)
10:00-11:30 Gould 114
Workshop 2 (Students)
5:00-8:00 Gould 110 (+Pizza)

FACULTY/STAFF SIGN UP

STUDENT SIGN UP

Surveys will be sent out soon as another way to engage.

 

The CBE community is asking:

How can space support or generate opportunities for more collaboration among faculty, staff and students of diverse disciplines and backgrounds?
Is there a different way of organizing operations (program administration, advising, research) for more interdisciplinary work?
How can spaces communicate welcome to a diverse range of current and prospective students, faculty and staff?
Can we increase the diversity of instructional space types such as outdoor and semi-conditioned space?
With additional use of hybrid remote and in-person learning and interaction, do our space needs change?
How can our values hands-on fabrication and testing for teaching and scholarship be supported or reflected in our spaces?

Hot Topics Conversations: Winter 2021 Recap

The CBE Hot Topics series continued in Winter 2021 with three sessions discussing issues central to the College community. As a reminder, the Hot Topics discussions grew out of the CBE Strategic Planning process as a space to discuss meaningful differences that exist in the College and to practice productive conflict.

The Winter conversations—EDI in CBE, Justice, and Climate Activism—drew a cross-section of College members. Each session had 15-30 in attendance including a mix of faculty, staff, students and a few alumni or community members. A special thank you to the facilitators who prepared these conversations and led them—Claudia Vergara and Adela Mu, Rachel Berney and Sara Cubillos, and Anthony Hickling and Gundula Proksch. You can read a brief recap of each session and see the “artifact” they created below. 

In each of these three sessions, participants asked the question “what’s next?” and expressed an interest in following up these preliminary conversations with more actionable discussions. As we transition to Spring 2021, the Hot Topics series will take a break to allow space for a new series of CBE Workshops. These sessions will be led by the Task Groups identified in the recently adopted Strategic Plan and provide space for these groups to engage members of the college community in the work these are developing.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in CBE

PDF of Google Jamboard Notes

This conversation started by the facilitators sharing the CBE definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion (these definitions were developed by the 2016 Equity Council) and asking members of CBE to engage with these definitions and their applicability to CBE today. 

  • Diversity is a range of human identities, including but not limited to age, creed, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, physical ability or attributes, political beliefs, race, religious or ethical values system, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, and veteran status. 
  • Equity is understanding how historical and structural legacies shape contemporary societal realities (e.g. citizenship, education, immigration, migration, public policy, and religion), recognizing when such legacies maintain specific power and privilege shape these realities, and restoring balance when policy and societal application does not work to the benefit of all our citizens. 
  • Inclusion is the active engagement, involvement and empowerment of our diverse community, where the inherent worth and dignity of our full community is recognized.

In the discussion, folks commented on the nuance between opportunities and outcomes in equity. Others proposed that these definitions should be tailored to speak to the built environment context in which our College exists and others called for our College to acknowledge the historic failures toward inclusion and equity in built environments generally and the College specifically. 

The second half of the discussion considered the way EDI approaches can be centered in our curricula across the College. This conversation touched on a wide range of topics—EDI as classroom practice, the need to engage in new discussions on existing texts as well as identify new content, and the challenges of bringing in conversations on EDI issues into professionally oriented courses (visual communication, industry preparation, professional practice).

Justice

This conversation focused on the question: How can built environments and BE professionals promote and/or embody justice?

Participants joined small group discussions to discuss thoughts on justice. Below are a few select comments from the document. 

  • Justice can drive accountability if we get our values down
  • Is justice a moving target or an ideal, never can be reached? Built environment’s long time frame means we can find lots of examples of injustice, e.g. detention centers. You may not be able to erase injustice in space.
  • Justice is about relationships and interactions can be people to people, people to other, and how does a system work together 
  • Justice isn’t something for now or the past but for the future and the next generations. Center yourself in the generations, both past and future
  • The built environment can be a shell for life-long injustices
  • Relationship-based and action-oriented

See this document for a summary of the discussions. 

The facilitators supplemented these thoughts with descriptions of justice from local organizers and organizations as well as grounds in the built environment spaces. 

Donald King, Nehemiah Initiative

I would view Justice as the state of fairness and equity. Justice does not always mean getting everything you want, but you get what others get. In my opinion, using the word to define punishment for crime or bad actions is a misuse. In a just world, punishment and reward is clear and predictable based on one’s good or bad actions. It is not punitive or compensated based on social status.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations (referenced in AIA Guidelines for Equitable Practice)

Justice, or social justice, denotes the assurance of fair treatment; equal economic, political, and social rights; and equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. It also encompasses a repairing of past wrongs, transformative justice, and accountability. For example, the call for racial justice in the U.S. includes a case for reparations (financial or nonfinancial) to those whose ancestors were enslaved and who continue to endure the legacy of slavery, segregation, racially-motivated violence, and discrimination. 

Design Justice Platform

Design justice advocates for the potential role of architects and architecture in redressing racial injustice and inequitable power structures, including through investment in repairing the infrastructure of neglected communities.(from Design Justice Platform) 

Nikkita Oliver, Seattle-based Attorney and Community Organizer

Justice is just us being just us

john a. powell, Othering & Belonging Institute

Justice involves claiming a shared mutual humanity

Climate Activism

[PDF of Miro Board]
[Miro Board Link]

Our final discussion of Winter 2021 focused on CBE’s role as a climate advocate. The strategic planning process identified a tension with how strongly CBE identifies itself as addressing “climate action” or “climate solutions.” 

To understand this distinction, our facilitators provided a few definitions: 

  • Climate activism can be individual or a form of civic engagement as a group, such as Fridays for Future and Climate Strikes. Some climate activism groups encourage their members to make lifestyle changes that reduce their individual carbon footprints. Though most types of activism work to move economic and political actors to change policies and behaviors in a way that will lead to reductions in emissions.
  • Climate Solutions or Climate Action are often used by large nonprofit organizations, like the United Nations, to promote their science supported programs. We would like to add a third term: 
  • Climate Advocacy works as an umbrella term and is used by various advocacy groups from climate activist organizations, to think-tanks, conservation organizations and researchers.

Most in attendance felt strongly that CBE should take an active role and identify as a “Climate Advocate.” The larger part of the discussion focused on the ways in which CBE should do this work. From incorporating more opportunities for climate advocacy related projects into the curriculum to using its knowledge base to actively engage directly with UW and the City of Seattle on their climate and sustainability plans. 

 

CBE 2021 Strategic Framework Overview

We are thrilled to announce that as of February 10, 2021, the College of Built Environments has adopted our Strategic Framework for the next 3-5 years. We are excited to share with you the overview of our strategic framework here, but you can also read the full plan here.

We look forwarding to diving into this work and putting our plans into action while envisioning a just and beautiful world.

[document url=”https://be.uw.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2021/02/Strat-Framework-One-Pager-2.17.21.pdf” width=”600″ height=”600″ responsive=”yes” title=”CBE Strategic Plan Overview”]

Hot Topics Conversations: Winter 2021

 

This academic year, the College of Built Environments will host a series of “hot topic” conversations for faculty, staff and students to discuss some of the language and ideas central to our college work and the forthcoming strategic plan.


What is a “Hot Topic”?

Various topics were identified during the strategic planning process as ones where meaningful differences and productive conflict arose. This manifested in conflicting ideas of the meaning of the word, the impact of the topic on the college, or the value of the concept to the work of individuals, department or college. 

What is the list of topics/words?

  • Profit
  • Craft
  • Design
  • Professionalism
  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Justice
  • Climate Activism

Why are we having these Hot Topic conversations?

Practice! As a college, our EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) goals include more deeply understanding differences within our college, including differences in how we approach our work, how we describe our values, and what meaning we assign to these topics. Identifying and broaching these differences can lead to conflict. Working through these conflicts leads to more skill in appreciating differences and greater opportunity to let those differences contribute to innovation (see purple axis in diagram above).

What we are NOT doing 

We are not seeking consensus or looking for an acceptable euphemism that might mean different things to different people. We may end up agreeing to disagree, but along the way we will gain important insight to the points of view of others in our college (see red “x”s in diagram above).

Winter 2021

Tuesdays 5–6pm 

  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (January 19)
  • Justice (February 2)
  • Climate Activism (February 16)

Week 3 – Tuesday, 1/19, 5-6pm
Register

The CBE strategic planning process has made clear that our community seeks to increase equity through our work in the built environment. At the same time, the college can and should embody those same equitable and inclusive principles in how we operate and the culture we create. We know CBE racial demographics are not currently meeting our goals to reflect the state or country, yet focusing solely on diversity may not be the answer. What practices do we value that are consistent with our EDI values? Are there any that are not? Does belonging mean different things to different people?

Facilitators: Adela Mu (Master of Urban Planning student) + Claudia Vergara (Associate Director of Advancement, CBE)

As you think about this conversation, here are a few links to get you started.

  • Equity: Strive for fairness of results/outcomes rather than equal access to opportunity.
  • Diversity: Vibrant and healthy community involves recognizing and supporting differences.
  • Inclusion: Create an environment where everyone can participate and everyone belongs.

Thank you to the UDP Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the above definitions. Also check out the College’s recently updated EDI website.

Week 5 – Tuesday, 2/2, 5-6pm
Register

What do we mean by just/justice? Can built environments promote and/or embody justice? What does the “right to the city” mean? The topic of reparations is controversial, should CBE take a stand? What are frameworks for better understanding different points of view on this controversy?

Facilitators: Rachel Berney (Associate Professor, Urban Design + Planning) + Sara Cubillos (Seattle Public Utilities)

Week 7 – Tuesday, 2/16, 5-6pm
Register

We have heard different perceptions in CBE about the phrases “climate action” and “climate solutions.” What do we know about the similarities or differences in these ideas? Is there an approach that will make CBE’s work more effective? Should CBE take an advocacy role on climate issues and if so how should it balance this position with its relationship to built environment industries?

Facilitators: Anthony Hickling (Managing Director, Carbon Leadership Forum) + Gundula Proksch (Associate Professor, Architecture)

Hot Topics Conversations: Autumn 2020 Recap

In Autumn 2020, members of the CBE community (including faculty, staff and students) gathered four times for conversations on some of the ideas and language central to our College work. The goal of these Hot Topics conversations is to identify the differing perspectives that exist within our college and to practice engaging in productive dialogue around these differences. Over the course of the term we experimented with different approaches and tools for facilitating dialogue – including progressive stack, mentimeter, polleverywhere, and Google Jam Board.

Through this experimentation, we learned that there is more than one way to have a community dialogue. We also learned that practice as a community does us good in discussing difficult topics. While the conversations were at times stilted and awkward, with each conversation, our community showed a little more fluency: a greater willingness to open up about our perspectives and a greater willingness to pose questions of one another and emphasize differences in perspectives. Still, there is space for us to grow in this work. In several conversations, the group showed a tendency toward finding a middle ground in our meaning or accepting the broadest, most inclusive definition. So there’s been signs of growth but also there remains room for improvement. We will have the opportunity to continue this work with more Hot Topics conversations in 2021.

Profit

What does profit mean in the built environments? What does it mean to our College? Is profit distinct from flow of money, economic value, wealth or value? Is it a driver, an outcome or something else? Are there disciplinary differences in how we teach about or talk about money? Are these similar to other disciplinary differences or does money trigger more deeply held differences?

This conversation was facilitated by Gregg Colburn (Assistant Professor of Real Estate) and Jen Davison (Assistant Dean for Research).

Most attendees were on the same page in defining profit in traditional economic terms (“net economic value created” or “revenue minus expenses”). Differing perspectives emerged when asked to consider the role of profit, particularly in the context of the built environments. Some highlighted its role as an important driver of activity (“drives resource allocation–returns to investors are necessary”; “without profit, it’s harder for professionals and firms to solve the Big Problems”), while others saw the role of profit as outsized and a detriment to other priorities (“favors private gain over long term public good”; “has outsized weight in terms of societal values”; “it is inherently exploitative”).

In thinking about profit in relation to CBE, the distinction above was significant as was College’s position in educating students for professions in the built environments. Despite differing perspectives on the role of profit in society, most felt it was important to equip students with a functional understanding of profit so they can work in industry, if an understanding that contextualizes profit and acknowledges factors outside of monetary value (“equity, environmental wellbeing and care”; “impact on climate change”).

Craft

What does craft mean within our departments, curriculum and fields? Is there overlap in these definitions? Is it a modern term, historical or something else? In thinking about the role of craft in pedagogy, should we teach it? How do we teach it? How does craft relate to technology? To history?

This conversation was facilitated by Catherine De Almeida (Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture) and Jack Hunter (Digital Fabrication Tech and Lecturer in Architecture).

 

Much of this conversation on craft highlighted a few distinct definitions of the term. Definitions of craft varied from the specific act of physical creation to those that considered the term much more broadly (e.g. “expertise in a given area of endeavor, particularly associated with physical making but also applies to activities that look to making as a model (writing, assembling code, skills”). These viewpoints were relevant as the group discussed how and where we talk about craft in CBE. Does “craft” occur primarily in the fabrication lab and design-build studios or is it embedded in many aspects of our work in the college?

Design

Design and design thinking were central components of the 2012 draft strategic plan, yet in this planning process, were rarely mentioned by the task groups. Was the omission due to an assumption that design is ubiquitous in our College? Is the omission a sign of success, that the college has changed, an indication that we agree on what it means, a way to avoid past unresolved conflicts raised by the term, or something else? Do we have a clear agreement on what design and design thinking are and the role they play in our college? We want to explore what has changed, if anything, and discuss the import of this word in 2012 that may not be useful to our planning process now.

This conversation was facilitated by Susan Jones (Affiliate Associate Professor of Architecture and Founder of AtelierJones, LLC) and Laura Osburn (Research Scientist at the Center for Education and Research in Construction, CERC).

 

Continuing in the vein of the craft discussion, CBE members have different perspectives on the meaning of design, from the specific interpretation in the built environments (e.g. “Design is a phase in the life cycle of a project where new ideas are introduced and written down. Often considered to happen after planning and before fabrication and construction.”) to a broader mode of thinking (“It is a process that bridges the practical and the imaginary”; “creative problem solving”; “intersubjective conversation – between people, places, materials, histories and future”). Despite these contested meanings and the limited discussion of “design” in the recent strategic planning process, participants in the conversation see it as a core value at CBE.

Professionalism

What does it mean to be a professional? What education prepares graduates to enter or lead professions in the architecture, engineering, construction (AEC) industries? When our classes take on community projects where the community has a clear need, do we take on a commitment of a profession-quality deliverable? What if the open-ended explorations of the course take the work in a different direction? What if circumstances change, such as in the ways we accommodate students in Spring 2020 to opt-in to final projects? Are we modeling behavior that is unprofessional?

This conversation was facilitated by Branden Born (Associate Professor of Urban Design and Planning) and Rachel Faber Machacha (Academic Advisor & Graduate Program Assistant in Construction Management).

 

In this conversation, we used Google Jamboard as a space for participants to anonymously post “Record Scratch Moments”—experiences that challenged their notions of professionalism—and to post questions on professionalism in the context of CBE and the professions. The wide-ranging conversation touched on the role of ethics in professionalism, the relationship between professionalism and identity or culture, and the balance of setting up students to be professional while recognizing the concept itself perpetuates certain structures of inequality.

Winter 2021

Looking ahead to Winter 2021, we will continue these efforts to understand differing perspectives in the College and to practice engaging in productive dialogue based on these differences. Learn more about our upcoming discussions here.

2020-2021 Roadmap (updated 12/7/2020)

Where We Are in the Process

Testing and Refinement; Autumn 2020

Through feedback mechanisms, faculty, staff, students, partners will provide reactions, identify gaps, state preferences for top priority actions.

Hot Topics discussions will be held to deeply understand words and topics where there are disciplinary or other differences in the college.

December 9th All College Meeting allowed faculty and staff the chance to engage with the plan and provide feedback. No vote was held, but functional groups (departments, working groups, interest groups, constituents groups) are encouraged to meet before mid-January to develop implementations and tactics.

Taking a last round of feedback, the writing team will revise and release Draft 4 in early February.

Functional groups will present at the February All College Meeting. A vote will be taken on Draft 4 (with amendments as needed) of the Strategic Plan for adoption in February. Preliminary planning for Implementation discussed.

 

Hot Topics Conversations: Autumn 2020

 

This academic year, the College of Built Environments will host a series of “hot topic” conversations for faculty, staff and students to discuss some of the language and ideas central to our college work and the forthcoming strategic plan.


What is a “Hot Topic”?

Various topics were identified during the strategic planning process as ones where meaningful differences and productive conflict arose. This manifested in conflicting ideas of the meaning of the word, the impact of the topic on the college, or the value of the concept to the work of individuals, department or college. 

What is the list of topics/words?

  • Profit
  • Craft
  • Design
  • Professionalism
  • Diversity
  • Equity
  • Inclusion
  • Justice

Why are we having these Hot Topic conversations?

Practice! As a college, our EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) goals include more deeply understanding differences within our college, including differences in how we approach our work, how we describe our values, and what meaning we assign to these topics. Identifying and broaching these differences can lead to conflict. Working through these conflicts leads to more skill in appreciating differences and greater opportunity to let those differences contribute to innovation (see purple axis in diagram above).

What we are NOT doing 

We are not seeking consensus or looking for an acceptable euphemism that might mean different things to different people. We may end up agreeing to disagree, but along the way we will gain important insight to the points of view of others in our college (see red “x”s in diagram above).

Autumn 2020

Tuesdays 5–6pm 

  • Profit (October 13)
  • Craft (October 20)
  • Design (November 10)
  • Professionalism (November 17)

What does profit mean in the built environments? What does it mean to our College? Is profit distinct from flow of money, economic value, wealth or value? Is it a driver, an outcome or something else? Are there disciplinary differences in how we teach about or talk about money? Are these similar to other disciplinary differences or does money trigger more deeply held differences?

This conversation will be facilitated by Gregg Colburn (Assistant Professor of Real Estate) and Jen Davison (Assistant Dean for Research).

What does craft mean within our departments, curriculum and fields? Is there overlap in these definitions? Is it a modern term, historical or something else? In thinking about the role of craft in pedagogy, should we teach it? How do we teach it? How does craft relate to technology? To history?

This conversation will be facilitated by Catherine De Almeida (Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture) and Jack Hunter (Digital Fabrication Tech and Lecturer in Architecture).

Design and design thinking were central components of the 2012 draft strategic plan, yet in this planning process, were rarely mentioned by the task groups. Was the omission due to an assumption that design is ubiquitous in our College? Is the omission a sign of success, that the college has changed, an indication that we agree on what it means, a way to avoid past unresolved conflicts raised by the term, or something else? Do we have a clear agreement on what design and design thinking are and the role they play in our college? We want to explore what has changed, if anything, and discuss the import of this word in 2012 that may not be useful to our planning process now.

This conversation will be facilitated by Susan Jones (Affiliate Associate Professor of Architecture and Founder of AtelierJones, LLC) and Laura Osburn (Research Scientist at the Center for Education and Research in Construction, CERC).

What does it mean to be a professional? What education prepares graduates to enter or lead professions in the architecture, engineering, construction (AEC) industries?

When our classes take on community projects where the community has a clear need, do we take on a commitment of a profession-quality deliverable? What if the open-ended explorations of the course take the work in a different direction? What if circumstances change, such as in the ways we accommodate students in Spring 2020 to opt-in to final projects? Are we modeling behavior that is unprofessional?

This conversation will be facilitated by Branden Born (Associate Professor of Urban Design and Planning) and Rachel Faber Machacha (Academic Advisor & Graduate Program Assistant in Construction Management).

Winter 2021

  • Diversity 
  • Equity
  • Inclusion
  • Justice

 

CBE Strategic Plan: Draft #2

CBE faculty, staff and students,

On behalf of the Writing Team, we are happy to share the second draft of the CBE Strategic Plan. Thank you for your contributions thus far to help shape this document.

If you have any comments or questions, we welcome you to contact a member of the Review Team. The Review Team consists of one representative from each strategic planning task group and the chair of each department. The comment period closes on June 5. 

Take a look at the CBE Strategic Plan process guide for a reminder of where we’ve been, our current stage in the process and what comes next (the last two panels on page 2 highlight where we are now and the next steps).

 

Read the Draft