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Department Newsletters

Learn more about the ongoing and previous work of the Department of Urban Design and Planning. This archive includes links to past digital newsletters with features, stories, updates, and more. Each newsletter showcases the range of our impact within higher education, the planning profession, and our communities.

UDP Newsletter

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UDP Newsletter

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Dear Friends and Alumni –

Welcome to our spring quarter newsletter.

For the Department of Urban Design and Planning, spring is traditionally a time of celebration, reflection, and change.

We celebrate first and foremost our 2021 graduates. This year’s class, from all four of our degree-granting programs, is exceptional. Several of our students received significant awards for their work, while others contributed to their local communities, helped transform UW and departmental policy and programs, or took part in advanced planning practice through their coursework and research. This was, without question, one of the most challenging years in our history, and yet our students remained resilient, adaptive, and engaged.

Spring is also a time when we celebrate our faculty, staff, and Professionals Council (PC). I’m proud of our faculty, who found innovative ways to translate their teaching into online formats. I’m grateful for our staff, who worked long hours to provide the extra support we all needed. And I’m especially thankful to our Professionals Council, which not only continued to mentor our students and organize a remote lecture series but, also launched a major campaign to endow our Equity Fund, which is fundamental to our ability to attract and support BIPOC and underrepresented students in our graduate programs. The endowment campaign began with a foundational gift from former PC member and MUP alumna Melanie Mayock and was supercharged with a matching gift from PC member and alumnus Al Levine and his wife Darcy. To date, we have raised half of our matching goal. If you have not given, I urge you to please do so. There is information below that will tell you how.

It is difficult to capture all of the challenges of the past year. Like you, we faced uncertainties of all sorts, including massive disruptions to our work and lives, fear for our health and our families, and in some cases personal loss and tragedy. In addition to the COVID pandemic, we also struggled with our nation’s disease of racism and systemic injustice, exposed on a national level just over a year ago by the murder of George Floyd. For many of us, this was not just the context in which we worked; it became the work itself. For the department, it was a year of reckoning as we began the difficult and unfinished process of examining our own role – and the role of planning – in perpetuating the racist systems we purport to stand against.

As we move forward, we are faced with more challenges, including the existential impacts of climate change and political and economic divisions that make responding to our problems more difficult than ever. And yet I’m optimistic because what the last year has shown me is that while planners may not have all the solutions (yet), we do have the traits we need to take on the problems. Like the class of 2021, we are innovative, resilient, adaptive, and engaged, and when we come together we can make progress even in the face of adversity. It is in that spirit that I want to thank you for being part of this department and its mission. We could not do our work without your support. I hope you enjoy this newsletter and have a wonderful summer, and that you too will find encouragement in a new generation of planners ready to help lead us into whatever post-pandemic world we care to create.

Very best,

Christopher D. Campbell, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Urban Design and Planning



Acknowledging AAPI Heritage Month

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month falls in May for two reasons: the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the U.S. in May 1843, and the First Transcontinental Railroad, built largely by Chinese laborers, was completed in May 1869.

In the U.S., where racial relations often center on the Black-White binary, Asians (5.7% of the population) have often been ‘the invisible race,’ particularly in regions where they make up even smaller proportions of the population. Meanwhile, Pacific Islanders (0.2% of the population) are barely recognized in the continental U.S. American consciousness.
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The Department stands firmly with those who are fighting for change

Members of the URDP Community:

On behalf of the URDP staff and leadership, we wanted to reach out to you and offer this message of support and unity.

These past several days have been extraordinarily difficult. We have borne witness to the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer while three other police officers stood silently by (and not yet charged). We have borne witness to the responses in our cities and towns across America as tens of thousands have taken to the streets to express their rage at an unjust system and frustration with change that has been promised but has still not come. And we have borne witness to elected leadership that has responded to these events not with compassion and commitment to justice but with cynicism, callousness, force, and oppression.

We have seen a lot over the last few days, and we must not stop looking.

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UDP Newsletter

Our goal in the Department of Urban Design and Planning is to provide more than excellent teaching and research. Our real mission is to have an impact on the lives and careers of our students, the future of the planning profession, and the health and welfare of our urban and regional communities.

We’ve selected a few stories and events that we think illustrate this impact…

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2018-2019 Reflections

The Department of Urban Design and Planning celebrated our 2019 graduates on June 14 & 15th, 2019. In reflecting on the past year, we wanted to share a few of the stories about the smart, creative, passionate students who are using their degrees in uniquely innovative ways…

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