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Lake Union Laboratory: Curating Collaborative Urban Research in the Digital Realm

Year of Funding: 

This collaboration studio grant supports a cross-disciplinary team exploring the potential for digital platforms and tools to generate new transdisciplinary knowledges in and of urbanism and cities. The complex challenges of 21st century cities demand that scholars, researchers, and practitioners work across multiple disciplines and constituencies. Our interest in using the digital to deepen and expand urban discourses and imagination is a critical cross-cutting element of a larger project, the Cities Collaboratory, which aims to craft synergistic frameworks, foster next-generation inquiry, and generate creative responses to the grand challenges confronting contemporary cities.

What can we learn about Seattle and the growth of the city through access to multidimensional perspectives on the history and changing geography of Lake Union? How does the juxtaposition and integration of multiple data sources and knowledges lead to new questions and research areas? How might these syntheses inform future plans for Lake Union and Seattle? What do such collaborations entail, conceptually and methodologically? Building on research by participants in the Lake Union Laboratory (a project of the Cities Collaboratory) we are creating the Lake Union Digital Atlas. By drawing together existing digital data and resources about the lake and the neighborhoods surrounding it (e.g., maps, photographs, census data, historical records, ecological data) and digitizing additional resources, the project aims to develop a more comprehensive resource on Lake Union as a social, economic, cultural, spatial, and ecological place over the course of time. It also provides a foundation for exploring how transdisciplinary collaborations can effectively produce and disseminate new knowledges about an urban place. These, in turn, can shape the generation of potential future scenarios and related interventions.

Learn more about this project via their website and on Twitter.


Photo courtesy of Betsy Anderson.

Primary contact

Kim England (Geography)

Susan Kemp (Social Work)

Thaisa Way (Landscape Architecture)