“Makers” is a podcast series featuring six local female artists answering the basic question “Does art have the power to make political change?” The interviewed artists practice a variety of artistic mediums including theater, music, graphic design, dance, and film. In the podcast, each woman speaks of her experiences as a female artist, of her opinions of the legitimacy of political art, and of her position as a woman in a male-dominated political society. We speak about the strength of storytelling, the power of politicians versus artists, and the vulnerability of artistic expression. The research culminates in a podcast product that acts as inspiration and activism for other women while also providing a platform for artists often silenced or underestimated. The driving intentions of my senior project are to answer personal questions I have about the power of art, to glean wisdom from female artists I respect, and to provide a pertinent podcast for anyone who’s contemplated the potential for art to create social movement.
Academic Year: 2017
Community Development through Freedom of Space: Public Spaces and Cultural Identities
Hindering Hunger: Destigmatizing Social Services with a Targeted Outreach Strategy
CEP: Comitted to Equity in Planning
CEP: Committed to Equity in Planning addresses the lack of racial diversity in the Community, Environment & Planning (CEP) program at the University of Washington. This project produces a formal equity plan for CEP, ensuring that future programmatic efforts touch as many racially diverse communities on campus as possible and establishes CEP students as leaders in social equity and inclusion. This project evaluates the undergraduate experience and addresses issues of race in a university setting. A qualitative survey addressing internal CEP stakeholders found that there is a desire within the program to learn more about racial equity and to increase the racial diversity of admitted students. Additionally, a quantitative comparison of CEP racial demographics to those of the University of Washington revealed that CEP is a disproportionately white program compared to the undergraduate population. An exploration into current diversity plans, definitions of diversity, equality, equity and outreach best practices helped identify how to build an equity plan that incorporates best practices and accountability measures. This plan reaffirms CEP’s commitment to equity and encourages CEP students and alumni to take control of their education, learn about racial equity issues, and apply methods to improve the equity of the only student-run program on campus.
Healthy Cities, Healthy Bodies
Numerous cities around the globe have adopted tactical urbanism interventions within their planning departments. Tactical urbanism is attractive due to its low-risk, short-term, and low-cost urban design interventions of a community’s built and natural environments. Planning departments are often the catalysts of tactical urbanism. For example, the City of Seattle has recently started a tactical urbanism program, with 24 projects completed or planned. As the movement gains momentum, the role of participatory planning is questioned: should city officials be solely responsible for urban design or should communities also have an active role? This paper explores the relationship between tactical urbanism and social capital from a health-oriented perspective and critically analyzes it as a contributor to urban hegemony. Tactical urbanism’s manipulation of a community’s microenvironment has physical, mental, and social health implications; social health will be the focus of this analysis as it is rooted in equity. Case studies from various cities are analyzed to identify effective methods in building social capital, while simultaneously having positive effects on the built environment. Literature is reviewed to criticize the current state of tactical urbanism to promote a more equitable, community-based approach through the “Right to the City” theory. While some cases of independent community-based tactical urbanism can improve community health and build social capital, its lack of consent from government officials can weaken community-government relationships by creating a sense of mistrust and perpetuate authoritative planning. Successful, equitable tactical urbanism is difficult, though the “Right to the City” can provide a framework for future equitable planning.
Public Universities and Private Crime
Currently, the University of Washington’s Notifications of Criminal Incidents notify members of the UW community about less than five percent of all crimes that occur in the University District, and the criteria the emergency communications committee uses to determine whether to report specific events is not easily accessible to the UW community. This lack of transparency and clear criteria prompted the question of how transparent UW’s emergency communications should be to maintain the highest level of student safety possible. To answer this question, I conducted case studies of other universities’ emergency communications systems, reviewed public records about UW’s emergency communications systems, and interviewed the founder and head of UW Alert. As a result of this research, I have a much more comprehensive understanding of UW’s emergency communications. I used my contact with Dr. Arkans to make recommendations as to how UW’s emergency communications could be operated more transparently while still maintaining victim privacy. As a result of my research and recommendations, information about UW’s emergency communications should be more accessible to the UW community.
Deterring Crime through Tactical Design
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is an alternative approach to deterring criminal behavior through the application of interdisciplinary design principles within the natural and built environment. This project seeks to pair particular CPTED principles to site-specific residential deficiencies within the neighborhood north of the University of Washington’s Seattle campus. Currently, there is a procedural disconnect between the ideologies of CPTED and their application to existing neighborhoods and criminalities. To effectively merge the gap, this project establishes an evaluation process and develops a corresponding blueprint for changes to be made within the study area. To achieve this end, the project follows three distinct phases comprised of research, fieldwork, and site improvement. Specifically, this scheme uses crime statistics and gauged community perspective to guide street segment evaluations based on predominant components of CPTED. From this assessment, corresponding recommendations are deduced to provide an array of relevant principles to aid in the deterrence of crime. The final product is a report detailing the diagnoses of deficiencies in coordination with a set of recommendations scaled to the parcel and neighborhood level. By aiming the analysis and prescription of principles to the local community, this project functions as a preliminary case study for comprehensible CPTED implementation. Components of CPTED can be readily employed within personal properties, offering an alternative to increased police presence and defensive target hardening, while supporting the development of safer communities and public spaces.
Decolonizing the Land
Colonialism and globalized capitalism have created a civilization divorced from nature and disconnected from place. These forces have also worked to undermine and destroy Indigenous cultures and languages in pursuit of control over land and resources. I created a campus walking tour to teach the Lushootseed names for the plants as an act of decolonization, as well as a way to support and honor the Indigenous people of the Puget Sound. Through research and sitting with elders, I compiled a list of important plants, their Lushootseed names, and their traditional uses. I used the list to make a foldable map with plant names and photos to be used by people on the tour. The goal of the project is to teach the local community about the plants in order to reestablish a connection to nature and the people of this land.
Due to increasing urbanization, cities including Seattle are seeking creative means of increasing the amount of greenspace in their urban environments. Green walls are one example of including natural elements on vertical surfaces that are often left unutilized. Green walls have been linked to a wide range of benefits regarding sustainability. Compared to the social elements of sustainability, much more attention has been given to the environmental and economic factors. This project explores the public social benefits of green walls in order to determine if green walls are a feasible means of creatively including more sustainable greenspace in urban areas. The identified benefits are individually explained regarding their connections to sustainability. An additional component of this project is a set of site evaluations and a survey exploring public opinions on the benefits of green walls. This results in a report that addresses the potential benefits of green walls, in addition to the challenges, with specific examples in Seattle. This product is intended to provide insight on the feasibility of using green walls to contribute to the public social benefit while simultaneously incorporating necessary greenspace into urban areas.
Livable City Year
The model for this type of university-community partnership is a potential solution to a long existing gap between knowledge and practice. Historically, this gap has been perpetuated by the unwillingness of universities to make both intellectual and financial investments in their surrounding communities. The purpose of this project is to both guide an understanding of how Livable City Year seeks to address this disparity and to promote the impact of the program on both the university community and the City of Auburn, UW’s community partner for the 2016-2017 academic year. This is done through the creation of a short video that aims to tell the story of LCY’s inaugural year in a way that will influence students, faculty, and community partners to engage with the program in years to come.