Affiliate Fellows Program


The Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows Program, sponsored by the University of Washington Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies, gathers thought leaders from industry, faculty from the College of Built Environment, and top students pursuing a Master of Science in Real Estate for an 18-month program to examine real estate issues in the built environment. The goals of the Affiliate Fellows program are to foster deeper interactions between the students, academic community and the business community, to provide mentorship to students, and to explore and advance new ideas relevant to the Northwest real estate community. First year students are invited to participate in the Affiliate Fellows program.

Meet the 2016-17 Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows! The 2016-17 Affiliate Fellows include Rachel Berney, Assistant Professor, Urban Design & Planning, Gundula Proksch, Associate Professor and Architect, Department of Architecture, Martha Barkman, Vice President of Development, Mack Urban, Shannon Loew, Founder of FIX, and Rosey Atkinson, MSRE/MUP Candidate 2017. 

2016-17 Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows Research Topic

Development that Empowers – Designing Density in Seattle for the Next 100 Years

Seattle’s growth has created unintended consequences that are reducing our ability to grow sustainably and equitably. Without new models of development, we run the risk of mirroring San Francisco, Manhattan and other cities which struggle with limited supply of housing, skyrocketing costs of living, inequitable development, and lack of socio-economic diversity. The Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan is focused on equitable city growth for the next 20 years; we will focus on informing patterns for the next 100 years. The 2016 Runstad Affiliate Fellows will travel to Melbourne and Sydney in March 2017 to explore strategies addressing similar issues with the goal of identifying precedents worth emulating here in Seattle.

Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows – A City To Love from UW College of Built Environments on Vimeo.

Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows – Risks and Collaborations from UW College of Built Environments on Vimeo.

Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows – Social Urbanism from UW College of Built Environments on Vimeo.


Past Fellows


What is the right way of your dreams?

The 2015-16 Runstad Fellows traveled to Auckland, New Zealand to explore the ways in which we can rapidly transform the function and capacity of the public right of way to support a rich urban life at a time of unprecedented population growth.

Typically over a quarter of the urban environment, the right of way currently acts as the venous system for our cities.  It is the largest segment of public space in the city and in theory is equally accessible by everyone for multiple uses and civil daily life, but is off limits to uses other than getting from point A to point B.

Specifically, they will explore the policy, regulations, and funding mechanisms that support:

  • Transportation and parking
  • Utilities and infrastructures
  • Ecological, cultural and social function, including fostering a cultural capacity to work together and build a diverse civil life
  • Land use policy


The 2014-15 Runstad Fellows proposed to look at the challenges and responses to housing, open space, and livability in three cities in South America: Santiago Chile, Rio de Janiero and Curitiba, both in Brazil. These three cities are either in the midst of dramatic shifts or have been forced to respond to major changes in the recent past, thus providing excellent cities and spaces of study.

For cities such as Santiago, the threat of natural disasters in the context of transition to a new democratic political structure has been the focus of recent city planning efforts.  Curitiba was once the city with highest rate of poverty, until the 1970s when Mayor Jamie Lerner undertook a major re-visioning of urban planning and design to meet the needs of a diverse population. His vision focused on public space and amenities for the under privileged communities through ‘Urban Acupuncture’. Rio de Janeiro is currently undergoing significant growth due to a rollercoaster economy as well as being host to both the soccer World Cup in 2014 the Summer Olympics in 2016.

The 2015 Runstad Affiliate Fellows visited three cities in three different phases of change and responding to distinct challenges and opportunities. The intention was to learn and share approaches to rapid change, specifically as it relates to issues of livability in the housing and public space.

An Investigation of Rapid Urban Change in the Context of Housing, Affordability, Livability, and Social Cohesion in Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, and Curitiba

Cities and urban regions around the globe are undergoing significant transformations, including increased density, new economies, and changing demographics as well as addressing the challenges of climate change and globalization.

2014 The group studied Social Urbanism, a term of art in Medellín, Colombia, that refers to investments in physical infrastructure in support of broader communal, social goals, such as health, safety, and opportunity.  In absence of a strong national plan to combat violence in response to a tide of guerilla movements and narco-trafficking, local cities and neighborhoods have implemented bottom up, “crowdsourced” urban planning processes that have greatly improved health and welfare.  Due in large part to these efforts, Medellin was named the “most innovative city in the world” by the Wall Street Journal and Urban Land Insitute for 2013.   Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, Bogotá, construction is underway on the largest crowd-funded real estate project in the world, the BD Bacata, which seeks to leverage funds raised from thousands of local investors to catalyze the redevelopment of Bogotá’s city center.  In a way, the BD Bacata is an example of a social process for urban development that is much different from traditional development. The Fellows explored the conditions that gave rise to these cutting edge, people-based urban development practices, and exploring how lessons learned in Colombia can be applied to the United States, and the Seattle region. Read more about their recent trip here.

2013 The 2013 Affiliate Fellows group explored the role of commerce as a catalyst to human connection in urban communities amidst economic, political, and natural destruction.  Through travel, observation, interviews, and local discussions around commerce as an experience fostering positive social experience, the Fellows sought to build an understanding of the conscious and unconscious patterns that foster urban vibrancy; specifically thriving communities, even amidst adversity.  With the addition to the Fellows Program of documentary filmmaker Eric Becker, the observed patterns were revealed in a unique form of visual storytelling around human connection and commerce. The Fellows group traveled to cities both in Eastern Europe and the U.S. that have re-defined and/or retained their culture while displaying inherent resilience amidst destruction. Travel destinations included cities within Germany and Poland, with a capstone visit to Detroit. 2013 Runstad Affiliate Fellow Gabriel Grant is featured in Eric Becker‘s recent short film, “Placemaking & Seattle”. 2013 Runstad Affiliate Fellows Bios

2012 2012 Runstad Affiliate Fellows Bios Read about the 2012 Fellows trip to Istanbul The Conflicted City: Hyper Growth, Urban Renewal, and Mass Urbanization in Istanbul

2011 2011 Runstad Affiliate Fellows Bios Former Fellow Julia Levitt interviews 2011 Fellow Liz Dunn in the Atlantic Learn more about the 2011 Runstad Affiliate Fellows research topic