Research Portal

June 2, 2022

Daniel Abramson and collaborators awarded EarthLab Innovation grant for community-based research project on climate change & social justice

The EarthLab Innovations Grant Program was launched in 2019 to fund actionable environmental research. The 2022-23 EarthLab Innovation Grants program received 33 high-quality proposals for research at the intersection of climate change and social justice. One awarded project titled, “Centering Place and Community to Address Climate Change and Social Justice” was led by P.I. Daniel Abramson, Associate Professor of Urban Design & Planning and Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture & Landscape Architecture, and Community Lead, Jamie Judkins, of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe. The research team included University of Washington partners across several departments and initiatives. Those including Rob Corser, Associate Professor of Architecture; Julie Kriegh, Research Scientist with the Carbon Leadership Forum; Jackson Blalock, Community Engagement Specialist with Washington Sea Grant; Lynne Manzo, Professor of Landscape Architecture; and Kristiina Vogt, Professor of Environmental and Forest Sciences. Community partners in this work included Daniel Glenn, AIA, NCARB, Principal at 7 Directions Architects/Planners; John David “J.D.” Tovey III of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; and Timothy Archer Lehman, Design and Planning Consultant and Lecturer of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington. 

The proposed community-based participatory action research project, “Centering Place and Community to Address Climate Change and Social Justice,” is a collaborative research, planning and design initiative that will enable a UW research team to work with the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe to explore sustainable and culturally relevant strategies for an upland expansion in response to climate change-driven sea level rise and other threats to their coastal ecosystems and community. The situation is urgent as the reservation is located in the most rapidly eroding stretch of Pacific coastline in the US, on near-sea-level land vulnerable also to catastrophic tsunamis. The project will advance the Tribe’s master plan and collaboratively develop a model of climate adaptive, culture-affirming and change-mitigating environmental strategies for creating new infrastructure, housing and open spaces in newly acquired higher elevation land adjacent to the reservation. Design and planning strategies will draw on culturally-based place meanings and attachments to support a sense of continuity, ease the transition, and create new possibilities for re-grounding. Sustainable strategies generated by the project will draw on both traditional ecological knowledge and scientific modeling of environmental change.

Learn more here.