Ours is a College of transformational practices that shape resilient and equitable futures.
Resilience and equity are this century's primary challenges. Science shows that climate impacts are getting worse – making the planet hotter, affecting wellbeing, and causing instability from floods, drought, and fire. How we live matters. We urgently need to redesign the physical fabric of our regions, cities, and neighborhoods to make them more adaptable to environmental change while proactively addressing social inequities and dislocations.
To do this, we need to look both backward and forward. The design and development practices of the late 20th century have exacerbated our current challenges. We must critically evaluate existing infrastructures, land-use plans, and buildings — this is the palimpsest in which we are intervening in order to redirect it toward a better future. Understanding what worked, and what did not, enables us to promote new practices that build our collective capacity for adaptation, renewal, and equity.
CED has a legacy of committed environmental stewardship—material and cultural—and a long-standing concern with social justice. Our college was founded to address the challenges that confront us—intractable problems that arise generationally in new forms. We can take them on because environmental design is a uniquely holistic set of practices that grasps how human settlement and its infrastructure are tied inextricably to the environment's needs and vulnerabilities.
Although cities are rebranding themselves as walkable, smart, or water-resilient, current patterns of development are still responsible for a large part of global energy use and carbon emissions. Two decades into the 21st century, urban development in most of the world's cities looks more alike despite differences in climate, economy, and society.
Avoiding catastrophe requires multi-pronged, cross-disciplinary approaches that are unafraid to weave interdependent systems. Our college is founded in the joining of the departments of architecture, landscape architecture and environmental planning, and city and regional planning that empower us to envision different ways of living in the world. We are jettisoning unsustainable practices and reshaping the fabric of living as a social and environmental commons that we have a shared need to maintain and improve.
As part of a renowned public research university, in a region alive with entrepreneurship and located along the dynamic Pacific Rim, CED is well positioned to make our vision actionable. This moment calls for a broad convergence — expanding our impact for the public good through interdisciplinary teaching, research, community outreach, and industry partnerships.
Our degree programs focus on the formation of the environment as situated in a continuum of histories, societies, economies, materials, systems, and scales. We emphasize critical thinking about the ecological, social, and cultural performance of spaces, landscapes, and infrastructure systems. The diverse intellectual foci of our research inform our curriculum and encourage exploration across the College's fields and professions. They all reflect global, multi-scale perspectives that broaden discourses while grounding them in lived experiences.
We aim to instruct and empower the next generation of environmental designers who will help to build better environmental futures, inspire and lead their professions, and serve our communities through practice and public service. Every generation seeks to make its mark, defining excellence anew. We are here to advance this.