Bringing the distinctive capacities of the University of Washington (UW) to bear on the opportunities and challenges of twenty-first century urbanism, the UW Cities Collaboratory (Cities Collab) bridges disciplines and community stakeholders to focus research, teaching, and practice on pressing urban issues.
Cities engage the grand challenges of the 21st century: climate change, pollution and energy; jobs and economic opportunity; poverty and inequality; violence and security; tolerance and democracy; housing and social equity; environmental and public health. As incubators of sustainability and resilience, and as centers of cultural, artistic, and social diversity and vibrancy, they are also vital global resources. By 2050, three-quarters of the world's population will live in urban areas, creating unprecedented pressures on ecological, social, health, and economic systems. The Cities Collab is designed to develop and disseminate new models for addressing the social, cultural, environmental challenges and harness the capacities of cities. As a major public university located in the heart of the Seattle metropolitan region, itself a laboratory for urban innovation, UW is uniquely situated for intellectual and research leadership in this domain.
Seattle hosts a remarkable concentration of globally significant leaders and organizations, making it a visible and influential force in contemporary urban debates, nationally and globally. The city serves as an incubator for research and applications across disciplines and domains. The UW fosters a remarkable global network through innovative research, teaching, and service by faculty, staff, and students that will support the efforts to scale from local to global applications.
Complex, rapidly changing urban environments demand approaches to the generation and application of knowledge that are diverse, imaginative, holistic, and broadly collaborative. The UW is also on the forefront of collaborations across technologies and disciplines whose expertise can be harnessed to address the challenges and opportunities of cities. Although peer institutions are actively developing urban research centers, none engage the full breadth of the university community. The Cities Collaboratory comprises three UW campuses, five colleges, multiple disciplines, and diverse community stakeholders.
Seattle and the UW are world leaders in technology, biomedical, environmental, social and global health research and innovation. The UW depth in digital platforms offers the opportunity to harness the tools to bring diverse and multi-dimensional research together to generate new knowledge. In turn we have the opportunity to use digital visualizations to generate public scholarship fostering citizen engagement in urban practice and policy.
Making these connections, the Cities Collab puts into practice the collaborative application-inspired research and teaching that are the paradigms of tomorrow's university across all three campuses.