Research Projects

Research projects may be affiliated with a Lab or Center.  Projects are more specific in scope and timeline and often engage our communities and partners towards specific goals.

Internet of Things and Cybersecurity

The IoT and Cybersecurity project will address these challenges by studying two critical areas: (1) how O&M and IT groups currently share their knowledge and skills in order to improve IoT security and (2) how public policies and an organization’s own rules regarding privacy and security impact how IT and O&M collaborate.

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Economic impact of office transformation due to COVID-19

This COVID-19 research aims to investigate: 1) compliant strategies of office layouts with respect to physical distancing; 2) economic impact of mitigated layouts to buildings as well as surrounding community and their future recovery; and 3) recovery actions through innovative building codes against future pandemics.

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Housing Market Data Toolkit

Provides one place where census data and housing market data can be found for local governments planning under GMA frameworks.

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The Environmental Impacts of Seismic Damage Repair

In evaluating the life cycle environmental impacts of buildings, the contributions of seismic damage are rarely considered. This project developed and analyzed the largest known environmental impact database of building component seismic damage. By extending established methods of probabilistic seismic performance evaluation to include environmental impacts, a more comprehensive assessment of a building’s expected seismic...

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Mass Timber Optimization and LCA

This study explored how mass timber buildings can be optimized for material efficiency, and supported a regionally-specific LCA case study of a mass timber office building in the Pacific Northwest. Transitioning construction of low to mid-rise commercial and non-residential structures to cross-laminated timber (CLT)/heavy timber construction could have a positive impact on the environment. It...

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LCA of MEP Systems and Tenant Improvements

This study explored the typical ranges of embodied carbon (and other impact measures) for mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) and tenant improvement (TI). This study is an extension of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Low Carbon Construction Project. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality selected mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) and tenant improvement (TI) as...

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Embodied Carbon Benchmark Study

The Embodied Carbon Benchmark Study was the first stage of the LCA for Low Carbon Construction project funded by The Charles Pankow Foundation, Skanska USA and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the method used to quantify the carbon emissions that occur when extracting materials and making building products, otherwise known...

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Buy Clean Washington Study

On January 8, 2018, members of the Washington (WA) State House of Representatives introduced House Bill (HB) 2412 – Creating the Buy Clean Washington Act to the state legislature. Modeled after the Buy Clean California Act, HB 2412 proposed that WA state agencies awarding construction contracts require environmental product declarations (EPDs) for an eligible list...

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Developing a Prevention through Design Guide for Worker Safety

This project aims to identify best practices when implementing the PtD concept to improve worker safety, as applicable to Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing (MEP) design and construction. The identification will lead to synthesizing and reporting best implementation practices and exemplary cases from a number of leading MEP design companies and contractors with input from MEP professionals, workers, and safety managers, which will benefit the overall industry.

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Grow a Greener Data Center with Google

In partnership with Google, this project aims to conduct and document an innovative studio/seminar around the common theme of data center design and engineering with the goal of exploring sustainable solutions to the rapid growth of cloud computing.

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Clean Hands Collective

Seattle is a city known for its homelessness crisis—in 2015, the City declared a homelessness state of emergency, and today we have the third largest population of homeless individuals in the country. When businesses and public buildings closed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the unhoused suddenly had even less access to hand washing...

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Civic Resilience During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 crisis, community self-help and mutual support have become critical to the survival of many individuals, lending a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable populations in our society. In contrast to the government or institutional responses, they represent the agency and ability of the civil society groups to mobilize in times of...

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Washington State Apartment Market Report

Since the Fall 2017 survey, Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors (D+S) ceased operations and no longer provide market data for 5 counties in the Puget Sound region (King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, and Thurston). In Spring 2018, surveys were conducted by WCRER in cooperation with several key management companies in the area to produce interim statistics...

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Washington State Housing Market Report

Washington State’s Housing Market is a publication of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research (WCRER) at the University of Washington. At least quarterly, WCRER receives data on single-family home sales from each multiple listing service located in, or providing market coverage to, Washington communities. In 2012, data on nearly 69,000 home transactions were received and processed.

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Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Project (Project SafeHaven)

The Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning and Research is determining locations for artificial tsunami refuges along the Washington Coast. This a continuation of an Institute initiative that let to the construction of structures in Tokeland and Westport, Washington.

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Mt. Baker Food Innovation Network

A food innovation network is a framework for retaining and attracting food businesses in and to the Mt. Baker neighborhood through the use of community initiatives, smart business practices, and education. By bringing community members together with a unifying language that cuts across age, race, income and culture, this network empowers initiatives that can help foster collaborative business partnerships and encourage food education and innovation.

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Sound Communities

Sound Communities envisions a Puget Sound region where all of us live in vibrant, thriving communities with access to public transit and amenities, giving us the freedom to make our best lives for ourselves and our families. Our mission is to promote the development of complete, walkable, equitable and inclusive neighborhoods at scale across the Puget Sound region in concert with the region’s historic investment in transit.

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The Nehemiah Initiative

The Nehemiah Initiative seeks to assist community members facing the effects of rising costs and gentrification to combat displacement in Seattle’s rapidly changing Central District. The project began in 2018 in response to rising concern in the Black community of the Central District about loss of historic character and community culture. As Seattle experiences a...

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Mobile Cities

Rachel Berney's work in Bogotá revealed that enhancing peoples’ personal mobility is one of the most important and effective ways to increase equity in city environments. She defines this as the “right to mobility” –equitable access to safe, pleasurable, and useful transportation options that do not require a personal vehicle. This research project focuses on the equitable inclusion of all people in city transportation networks and how peoples’ personal mobility is shaped by socioeconomic status, by neighborhood, and by city-scale urban design and planning decisions.

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Guerrilla Urbanism: Urban Design and the Practices of Resistance

Against the ever-expanding institutional codes and regulations, temporary and unsanctioned uses of urban spaces have long been a distinct feature of cities and cityscapes from Global South to North. In recent years, under the banners of DIY urbanism, Tactical Urbanism, Pop-up and so on, improvised uses of urban spaces have become a language of urban design interventions. The growing acceptance of DIY and Tactical Urbanism, on one hand, create openings in the rigid, formalized planning systems for greater flexibility and expedient change. On the other hand, the professionalization and institutionalization of previously informal and even subversive acts has resulted in criticisms and concerns regarding co-optation and de-politicization, particularly in the context of the prevailing neoliberal governance. How can guerrilla urban tactics continue to serve as a vehicle for social and political transformation? What are the conditions and barriers that impel individuals and communities to undertake these guerrilla acts? How can small-scale, temporary actions lead to potential structural change? How can actions of resistance result in institutional and political change without becoming subsumed by it? What are the implications guerrilla urban tactics for a social practice of urban design? This special issue of Urban Design International invites leading and emerging scholars to explore these questions and offer their insights through either in-depth case studies or evidence-based observations.

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Comparison of Sky Modeling Practices and Simulation Techniques

Occupant centric performance approaches in daylighting studies promote design decisions that support human visual comfort, productivity, and visual preferences, along with more conventional energy efficiency criteria. Simulating per-pixel luminance values and luminance distribution patterns for the entire scene allows us to analyze the occupant centric metrics and performance criteria. However, there are a number of different sky models, complex fenestration models, and simulation techniques that produce either conventional point in time images or annual luminance maps.

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Analysis of Roadway Safety Under the Alternative Project Delivery Systems

In the United States, most highway projects use a traditional design-bid-build delivery system. Road maintenance is then performed based on funding availability and the maintenance priorities. When maintenance funds are scarce, serviceability of roads is impacted, which affects road safety. Alternative project delivery systems such as design-build-operate-maintain, design-build-finance-operate-maintain, and other public-private partnership (PPP) models provide for more consideration into the life cycle of highways. Through content analysis of PPP procurement documents and agreements, this research investigates PPP projects for their contractual safety terms.

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UW Campus Survey Project

The work for the project consists of an initial surveying of the current conditions of these pre-1975 buildings, landscapes, and artworks, as well as going through historic archives and records to compile an accurate and relevant history for each. This includes the designer, significant dates, and how they have changed over time. Once this information is gathered, it will be put into a database that will be available as a reference for the University and City. There will also be a cultural resources report created from the survey that will show how the University as a whole has evolved. As Connie Gray put it, “It will be nice to have documentation really geared towards the built environment to show how all of these trends of external happenings such as in the city or world affect the University’s built environment.”

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Regional Open Space Strategy

ROSS was a collaborative effort to integrate and elevate the many activities underway to conserve and enhance the ecological, economic, recreational, and aesthetic vitality of the Central Puget Sound region. Five years of collaborative study on the threats to the region’s existing open spaces, the value and benefits of open spaces to address our regional challenges, and possible pathway to open space preservation and enhancement have informed the findings and proposed actions in the Final Strategy Report.

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Computing Long-term Luminance Maps from Limited Number of HDR Imagery

This research focuses on the development of a novel prediction model to generate annual luminance maps of indoor space from a subset of images by using deep neural networks (DNN). The results show that by only rendering 5% of annual luminance maps, the proposed DNNs model can predict the rest with comparable accuracy that closely matches those high-quality point-in-time renderings generated by Radiance software. This model can be applied to accelerate annual luminance-based simulations and lays the groundwork for generating annual luminance maps utilizing High Dynamic Range captures of existing environments.

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Urban Microbiome

Interest in the microbial element of ecosystems has recently led to significant efforts to understand how the microbial components of the human gut influence health outcomes for individuals. This work is now known as being focused on the Human Micriobiome. The growing interest in the linkages between human well-being and microbial systems has also led...

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Understanding Community Behaviors and Attitudes for Resilience

The overarching goal of the project is to understand and model ways in which we can leverage unique – and interconnected – physical and social characteristics of place to enhance community adaptive capacity in response to disruptions.  This first phase (one-year) sets the stage for that line of inquiry by exploring and assessing the state...

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Smart Cities & Information Security

Recent products in this line of research investigate data releases at municipalities and in medical clinics. One is an examination of and policy recommendations for municipal open data, considering the public interest in privacy and social justice, as well as efficiency and convenience. Another is the comparative transaction cost economic evaluation of medical care in...

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Tornado Resilience and Sustainability

Strong winds such as those produced by tornadoes and hurricanes have resulted in billions of dollars in damage annually and continue to threaten the safety of building occupants. Much of the U.S. that is susceptible to these hazards also has expansive soils; slab-on-grade construction in such areas is commonplace. The building design will be optimized...

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Measurement and Simulation of Circadian Lighting

The human ocular system has two functions. While the most well-known function is to facilitate vision, a growing body of research demonstrates its role in resetting the internal body clock to synchronize with the 24-hour daily cycle. Most research on circadian rhythms is performed in controlled laboratory environments. Lighting professionals increasingly appreciate the influence of light on human health and wellbeing. A holistic approach to design necessitates consideration for both visual and non-visual aspects of lighting. There are established methods for measuring, simulating, and analyzing the luminous environment for photopic responses, but very few methods and tools exist to measure or simulate the circadian light. In the measurement part of this research, tristimulus colour calibration procedures for high dynamic range photography are developed to measure circadian lighting. In the simulation part, a multispectral circadian lighting simulation tool named Lark Spectral Lighting, is developed in Grasshoper/Rhino environment, the simulation engine is Radiance; and it is provided as an open source and freely available tool. The objective is to make circadian lighting analysis more accessible to architects, lighting designers, researchers, and other interested parties.

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Magnitude 9 Earthquake Scenarios

Magnitude 9 Earthquake Scenarios – Probabilistic Modeling, Warnings, Response and Resilience in the Pacific Northwest (“M9”) The M9 Project is a team of experts whose goal is to reduce catastrophic potential effects of a Cascadia megathrust earthquake on social, built, and natural environments through the advancement of methodologies, early warnings, and community planning. A magnitude nine...

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Equitable Futures

Growing out of Berney’s academic and professional expertise in equitable community design and development, this long-term project has two components: visualizing equity and place-keeping practices. She uses visualization (drawing, mapping, info design) in her investigations as an analytical practice and mode of critical inquiry, and as a representational practice and mode of communication within the...

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The Environmental and Economic Impacts of Moorage Marinas on the West Coast

An interdisciplinary research team calculated the net economic impacts of moorage marinas in Southern California and Western Washington by investigating economic gains, costs, and environmental externalities. To quantify such impacts, they used geographic information systems to correlate marina locations and NOAA Mussel Watch data on pollution and other impacts dating back to 1986, and they considered the costs and environmental benefits of non-copper antifouling bottom paint. These economic and environmental impacts can be compared for baseline and alternative scenarios, helping regulators and coastal communities develop prudent, informed marina policies.

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Embodied Carbon in Construction (EC3)

The Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool, is a FREE and EASY TO USE tool that allows benchmarking, assessment and reductions in embodied carbon per material category, focused on the upfront (Stage A1-A3) supply chain emissions of construction materials. Now hosted and managed by Building Transparency, a new 501c3 organization, the EC3 tool was incubated at...

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Educating Design Activists in Landscape Architecture

The field of landscape architecture is experiencing a surge of interest in design for transformative social outcomes broadly defined as design activism. As evident in recent award-winning student entries as well as common topics among studio projects and study abroad programs, socially engaged design and professional responses to urgent social and environmental challenges has become...

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Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics in an Urban Planet

Urban Eco Evo NET is a new NSF funded research network to advance the study and understanding of eco-evolutionary dynamics in an urban planet. The network will explore four central questions: 1. What is the evidence for urban signatures of phenotypic change distinct from natural and other anthropogenic drivers? 2. To what degree does urban...

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Coupled Human-Natural Systems

UERL’s research on coupled human-natural systems examines the dynamics of urban ecosystems to test hypotheses about how human-dominated ecosystems evolve through these complex interactions. The most recent project uses GIS analysis to explore “Urban Signatures of Socio-Ecological Innovation”. The project uses data from 100 cities across the United States to examine whether there are emergent...

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Climate Smart Capital Investment Planning

A methodology for capital investment planning that assists municipalities in selecting and prioritizing resilient, low carbon infrastructure for investment. This methodology is being produced for the World Bank and implemented by the World Bank in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, UN-Habitat, C40 Cities, and Bloomberg Foundation.

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CityFood

CityFood aims to address a range of scientific, environmental, and social questions regarding supply chain optimization, resource use efficiency, food safety and regulatory acceptance of integrated aqua-agriculture as a sustainable form of food production to meet a growing population. Funded by the Belmont Forum and the NSF, the international CityFood team explores the potential of...

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