“Urban Ecological Design” has been our motto at the Department of Landscape Architecture-University of Washington for over a decade. During the 2013-2015 biennium, the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington continued to thrive under our strategic focus of Urban Ecological Design. Beyond just a context for operation, our vision of Urban Ecological Design embraces specific dimensions of Design/Build, Design Activism, and Design Research.
Students and faculty have explored the planning and design of green infrastructure both locally in Seattle and abroad in the informal settlements of Lima, Peru. Specific studio and research projects have engaged community stakeholders, advocacy organizations, and institutional actors to address issues of climate change, social justice, cultural diversity, and resilience – reflecting the civic value and environmental ethic that define Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
In the Kintsugi Garden Design/Build Project, students worked with the local Japanese-American community to create a functionally-versatile, spiritually-meaningful, ecologically-restorative, and historically-symbolic place for community. In Lima, Peru, under the Informal Urban Communities Initiative (IUCI), successive groups of students have developed two parks, a classroom, and a fog collection pilot project, and helped local residents construct a series of house gardens to strengthen food security and reduce mental stress. Our Green Futures Lab continues to undertake projects at both local and regional scales, developing solutions and pilot projects for urban stormwater, floating wetlands, water harvesting, adaptive streets, and regional open spaces.
Through these projects and many more programs in Croatia, India, Japan, and New Zealand, as well as underserved Seattle neighborhoods including Little Saigon, South Park, and Greenwood-Phinney, students and faculty are pushing for a vision of landscape architecture as a pro-active and globally-minded, social, and ecological practice. We welcome you to visit our website and Facebook page to explore the extraordinary work that our faculty and students are undertaking