Skip to content

[Re]Visioning the Ave: Students devise real-world strategies for a thriving, accessible neighborhood hub

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?

Building a more just and beautiful future: CBE’s new faculty cohort makes strides on campus

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

Youth Perspectives on Disaster Planning project wins Population Health Initiative grant

Among the awarded projects was “Incorporating Youth Perspectives to Improve Disaster Planning: Piloting Drone-Based Photovoice to Explore Cultural Assets” whose investigators include UDP Associate Professor Daniel Abramson and UDP Masters’ student Matias Korfmacher, in collaboration with researchers from DEOHS.

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.”

College of Built Environments’ unique Inspire Fund aims to foster research momentum in underfunded pursuits college-wide. And it’s working.

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.

Two CBE students named to 2022 Husky 100

The University of Washington recognized two students from the College of Built Environments for the 2022 Husky 100. Congratulations to Talia Kertsman and Andrew Hengstler!


Talia Kertsman, Community, Environment, and Planning major

“I came to the UW seeking a depth of understanding around questions keeping me up at night – questions about the future of cities and how to sustain belonging in all spaces. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to grow in Seattle and learn from those working to preserve spaces of cultural value. I hope to work at the intersection of equitable community development and education, thinking about how students and educators can co-create spaces of learning, inside and outside the classroom.”


Andrew Hengstler, Construction Management major 

Blonde boy in dark clothing smiling in front of a dark brown door“Strong communities promote positive progress. I have focused my years at the UW working to foster this sense of community, empowering others to rally and grow together. Within my career, I seek to develop built environments that encourage community collaboration, where people are not separated by class or culture. By creating environmentally and socially sustainable habitats, we can both protect nature and preserve our vital sense of community.”


The Husky 100 recognizes 100 UW undergraduate and graduate students who are making the most of their time at the UW. Those named include undergraduates and graduate students who have founded start-ups, conducted research, and advocated for social justice.

A greener smile

Isabelle de Mozenette, a recent Community, Environment, and Planning (CEP) graduate, approached the UW School of Dentistry early this year with a plan to replace some of the plastic toothbrushes handed out to patients with ones that have bamboo handles. She quickly gained the approval of Dr. Ricardo Schwedhelm, Associate Dean of Clinics, and then worked with Dr. Diane Daubert of the Department of Periodontics faculty to implement the plan.

De Mozenette’s focus was on environmentally sustainable business and her idea originated last winter in a class called Attaining a Sustainable Society.

A woman stands in front of a screen projecting on the wall
Isabelle de Mozenette presenting her project on sustainable, bamboo toothbrushes.


“My teammates and I thought that dentists handing out free bamboo toothbrushes to their patients instead of plastic ones would be a really good example of businesses using the power and the impact that they have for good,” she said, “and for setting a norm by communicating to their patients that they value patient safety as well as environmental sustainability.” The idea soon evolved into her senior project.

De Mozenette secured grants to purchase the toothbrushes, which she obtained from the Seattle company SenzaBamboo. The company uses wild bamboo grown with no pesticides or fertilizer, and says  the variety is one that pandas do not eat, and thus are not deprived of a food source. While other companies make bamboo toothbrushes, SenzaBamboo stood out not only because of its local nature  but because it donates part of its profits to the Mary’s Place women’s shelter in Seattle.

The bamboo handle holds up well beyond the three months’ maximum that dentists recommend patients use a toothbrush before discarding, but then biodegrades in a natural environment or in a commercial composting facility, de Mozenette said.

The brushes were given to Dentistry faculty and staff as part of a “goodie bag” that also included sample-size toothpaste and compostable dental floss. Although the pilot project was set up for spring quarter, de Mozenette recently purchased another $900 worth of toothbrushes that will allow patients to receive them during the summer as well.

She also offered a parting plug for the green initiative, directed at School of Dentistry alumni and other dentists: “If they want to be more sustainable in their own personal practices, then they can order from SenzaBamboo and get the same wholesale price of 70 cents per toothbrush.”

Urban Scholar Highlight: Heather Burpee


Heather Burpee is a Research Assistant Professor in University of Washington’s Department of Architecture and a director of the Integrated Design Lab in the Center for Integrated Design, located in the Bullitt Center. We sat down with her to discuss her work and research on high-performance buildings.

What are your current research interests at the University of Washington?

I am a research associate professor in the Department of Architecture, and I work in a small group called the Integrated Design Lab. We focus on ideas around high-performance buildings. What we think of as high-performance buildings are those that are both energy efficient and embody high quality attributes for people. Whether it’s for living or healing or learning, or any other aspect for how we use buildings.

How do high-performance buildings fit in the context of urban systems? 

Buildings are a big part of how the fabric of urban environments come together. While we at IDL think about the building scale, this intersects with the community scale as well as a smaller scale within the building. People perceive their environments in multiple scales and we’re always thinking about those intersections.

Read more.