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Daniel Abramson

Departmental Faculty

Daniel Abramson, MArch, MCP, PhD
Associate Professor, Urban Design and Planning
Adjunct Associate Professor, Architecture
Adjunct Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture


  • Contact
  • Mailing Address
  • Street Address
Office: 448F Gould Hall
Phone: (206) 543-2089
VM: (206) 543-2089
Fax: (206) 685-9597
Mailing Address:
University of Washington
Box 355740
Department of Urban Design and Planning
Seattle, WA 98195-5740
Street Address:
3950 University Way NE
448F Gould Hall
Seattle, WA 98195

I try to bring a global-local awareness to the research, teaching and practice of community planning, urban design and historic preservation. Having lived and studied in the US, China and Canada (and undertaken projects also in Poland and Japan), I have a particular interest in the cross-cultural and cross-scalar dimensions of communicating design and planning ideas. With a background in history as well as architecture and city planning, I take a long view of these subjects in my writing and teaching, and seek ways to extend the timeframes within which people plan for development. I have worked with communities in widely different cultural and environmental contexts — marginalized neighborhoods in Seattle, Vancouver, Kobe, and Quanzhou; tribes on the Pacific coast; and mountain settlements and periurban villages in Sichuan and Fujian — to strengthen their resilience in the face of different kinds of disruption, from “cataclysmic investment” or capital flight, to earthquakes, tsunamis and other geohazards. In these settings, I provide students with hands-on opportunities to apply socio-spatial inquiry and democratic design to define, defend and develop community identity and assets.


Ph.D. in Urban Planning & Design at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (1998)
M.C. in City Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1992)
M.A. in Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1992)
B.A. in History at Harvard University (1985)

Also See

University of Washington Web Portal to Community Planning Activities in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China »


Selected Publications

“Conservation on the Edge: Periurban Settlement Heritage in China,” for special issue of Change Over Time on Conserving the City, Vol.4, No.1 (Spring 2014): 114-140.

“‘Urban-rural integration’ in the Earthquake Zone: Sichuan’s Post-Disaster Reconstruction and the Expansion of the Chengdu Metropole,” for special issue of Pacific Affairs on Periurbanism in Asia, Vol.84, No.3 (September 2011): 495-523. First author with QI Yu.

“Transitional Property Rights and Local Developmental History in China,” for special issue of Urban Studies on Property Rights in Transition, edited by Annette Kim, Vol. 48, No.3 (March 2011): 553-568.

“Places for the Gods: Urban Planning as Orthopraxy and Heteropraxy in China,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Vol.29, No.1 (February 2011): 67-88. 

“Using GIS in Community Design Charrettes: Lessons from a Japan–U.S. Collaboration in Earthquake Recovery and Mitigation Planning for Kobe,” Habitat International, Vol. 33, No. 4 (October 2009): 310-318.  Second author with T. Tanaka and Y. Yamazaki.

“Haussmann and Le Corbusier In China: Land Control and the Design of Streets in Urban Redevelopment,” Journal of Urban Design, Vol.13, No. 2 (June 2008): 231-256.

“The Aesthetics of City-scale Preservation Policy in Beijing,” Planning Perspectives, Vol. 22, No. 2 (April 2007): 129–166. 

“From Ethnic Enclave to Multi-ethnic Translocal Community: Constructed Identities and Urban Design in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District,” Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Winter 2006): 341-360.  First author with Lynne Manzo and Jeffrey Hou.

“Planning for the Urban Edge in Quanzhou, Fujian: Foreshadowing an Enablement Approach to Village Urbanization,” Projections: the MIT Journal of Planning, Vol. 5 (June 2006): 9-26.  First author with Samantha Anderson. 

“Urban Planning in China: Continuity and Change,” Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 72, No. 2 (Spring 2006): 197-215.  


University of Washington
Department of Urban Design and Planning · 410 Gould Hall · Box 355740 · Seattle, WA 98195-5740 · Phone: (206) 543-4190 · Fax: (206) 685-9597 · email: udp@uw.edu