UW College of Built Environments E-news
March 2009  |  Return to issue home

Message from the Dean

College of Built Environments

Dear alumni and friends,
“College of Built Environments” embodies strategic principles developed by the faculty in part to signal that the times now upon us will not accommodate business as usual. In this economy old assumptions evaporate every hour. Environmental innovation and research have never been more important, all the more reason to widen design inquiry across disciplines, expand research, deepen collaboration, intensify opportunities for teaching and engagement, and enrich student experience. What better backdrop than economic recovery to revitalize our mission? This is our neck of the woods.

We’re especially buoyed by the university’s call last month for a campus-wide conversation on sustainable cities. “Wherever feasible,” Provost Phyllis Wise announced, “we will focus lecture series, seminars, cultural and educational events, and public roundtables on the challenges and opportunities of urbanization.” The provost’s theme dominated a recent lunch we hosted for the chairs of the college’s five professional advisory councils (PACs), who agreed that henceforth once every year CBE PACs will meet jointly to strengthen connections among our allied professions and the college. Likewise, sustainable cities are high on the list of big-picture topics slated for discussion at CBE’s all-faculty caucus on April 25.

Spring quarter will witness the launch of the first Built Environments interdisciplinary lab program. Quarterly BE Labs offer all students across all departments the opportunity to work on specialized, advanced research and design topics. We’ve committed a significant portion of discretionary funds in support of this enterprise. For "Resilience in the Built Environment," Professors Dan Abramson and Jeff Hou will lead students to Sichuan Province in China, site of the 19th deadliest earthquake of all time, to explore the dynamics of recovery and reconstruction, in particular new design policies, hazard mitigation and the restoration and preservation of historic vernacular fabric.

We’ll report back on emerging developments later this year. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.


Dean Friedman signature


Daniel S. Friedman, Ph.D., FAIA
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March 2009  |  Return to issue home