Skip to main content

Anne Taufen, Ph.D., MGA

Phone Number
Campus Mailbox



Social Ecology
University of California, Irvine
Government Administration
University of Pennsylvania
English and French Literature
University of Virginia


Anne Taufen is an interdisciplinary policy and planning scholar who specializes in interpretive methodology, applied teaching and research, and regional community development. Dr. Taufen joined the University of Washington Tacoma in 2008, was tenured in 2015, and was promoted to Full Professor in 2023. Her published research focuses on equitable governance, port city infrastructures, and the social-ecological networks of urban regions. You can view an interview about her research here, and read open access chapters about infrastructures of health and co-production in a larger collaborative volume (Routledge, 2022) on global sustainable development, here.

Teaching, Service, Research

Dr. Taufen teaches in the Urban Studies, Sustainable Urban Development (SUD), and Global Honors (GH) undergraduate programs; and in the Community Planning (MACP) graduate program. Her teaching connects governance and development concepts to evidence and experience from local sites and empirical case material, utilizing a variety of pedagogical strategies to develop student competencies in comprehension, analysis, comparative work, communication, and strategic action. She has developed and taught over twenty courses for the School of Urban Studies, frequently over-enrolling classes to serve our UWT students, adapting to challenges in communicating schedule and degree planning conflicts for non-traditional learners, and supporting shared degree completion pathways.

Dr. Taufen was responsible for successfully implementing and guiding the growth of the SUD degree as a new faculty hire during an extended WA state budget freeze (2008-2013); and for leading the collaborative curriculum development and successful launch of the MACP program (2015), serving as Graduate Program Coordinator and weathering suppressive pandemic conditions during its first five years (2017-2022).

Faculty service commitments at the campus, university, national, and global level include leadership on the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Cities and Landscapes hub of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU); the Asia Pacific Mayors' Academy in partnership with UN-ESCAP, UCLG-ASPAC, and UN-Habitat; former co-director of the UW Livable City Year Program (2017-2018); past chair of the Theory track for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (2015, 2016); and current Honors Executive Committee and Faculty Council of the UWT Institute for Innovation and Global Engagement.

Dr. Taufen was elected Vice Chair of the UWT Executive Council and Faculty Assembly for 2023-2024, after serving as her unit's representative and co-chairing the urban-serving focus of the Academic Planning task force, in 2022-2023 (with Andrea Hill, School of Social Work and Criminal Justice). She is pleased to support Chair Huatong Sun (School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and IIGE) in working towards shared implementation of APT reform, improved campus safety and security, and faculty-informed academic planning and program growth that aligns with student, community, regional, and global needs - and secures funding resources through a cyclical, transparent, and well understood budget process. Dr. Taufen will become Chair of the campus governance process in 2024-2025, and looks forward to serving the community of colleagues who have supported the career development and unique identity of our urban-serving collective enterprise (faculty, staff, students, and community partners) here at UW Tacoma.

In 2023, Dr. Taufen's undergraduate mentee, Samantha Smith was the recipient of the highest honor awarded to a graduating senior at the University of Washington, the UW President's Medal. A joint SUD and Law and Policy student, Sam worked with Dr. Taufen beginning in Winter 2022 to refine an original research project on the equity implications of arts districts in Washington State, building on an earlier paper for SIAS faculty member Cameron Collins. Dr. Taufen helped Sam focus and substantiate research questions about race, equity, and place-based outcomes; and in 2023 Dr. Taufen and co-mentor Dr. Matt Kelley (faculty, SUS) supported the further development of this work through geospatial analysis. Sam Smith was seated with university dignitaries onstage and received this award in front of thousands of faculty, students, family members, and alumni in the largest in-person graduation ceremony ever convened by UW Tacoma, at the Tacoma Dome on June 9, 2023. You can view the video made by UWT media services, and played for the assembled crowd of 14,000 that day, here.

Research with UW students and colleagues has resulted in peer-reviewed articles for high-impact journals in her field, such as the Journal of Planning Education and Research (with Anneka Olson, 2020), Territory Politics and Governance (with Lisa Hoffman and Ken Yocom, 2022); and in a series of applied policy reports such as the Roadmap for Civic Engagement (2018). For five years, Dr. Taufen led the SCL hub's working group on Port City Transitions and waterfront development, producing and leading peer-reviewed, co-authored publications from each of those gatherings (2017-2021) - an especially important mentorship and substantive, equity-aware outcome for participating scholars from across the globe.



Beyond her academic commitments, Dr. Taufen volunteers for the Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center (T.U.P.A.C.), a Black-led classical arts and youth education organization located in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood; as well as a variety of groups where she and her family have long term interests and ongoing, active participation. These include the Tacoma Refugee Choir, the North Tacoma Soccer Club, the Annie Wright Schools, and St. Leo's Parish

Dr. Taufen has survived an extended period of stalking that significantly impacted her health, wellness, and relationships beginning in 2017. She is grateful for the support of a wide network of colleagues, friends, and family members whose care and commitment have enabled her children to remain safe, and to thrive. She is committed to improved understanding for professional communities of the inviolability and relational impacts of maintaining informed consent and human rights protections, in our shared spaces and interactions.

In the past Dr. Taufen has served on the board and executive steering committees for Communities for a Healthy Bay (CHB), which for 30 years has led community advocacy for the health of South Sound marine waters, and takes a strong stance for climate justice and racially, culturally inclusive waterway development; and for the George Pocock Rowing Foundation (GPRF), the nation's foremost non-profit rowing organization working to improve access and support excellence in sport-based programming and development. At CHB, Dr. Taufen chaired the DEI committee that changed the name of the organization from 'Citizens' to 'Communities,' recognizing the diverse and unevenly empowered groups whose stewardship of the bay is essential to its survival and health (2018-2021); and at GPRF, she helped grow Rainier Valley Rowing into the Row to the Future program, partnering with Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Parks Department to develop a nationwide model in diversifying sport and supporting student success, during the early years of her faculty career at UW (2008-2011).

CV / Resume
Selected Publications

Kjaersgaard, Sara Padgett, Anne Taufen, Catherine Evans, and Yizhao Yang. (2023). Urban-rural linkages and their port city waterfronts: Asia Pacific Region. Book chapter for SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) World Sustainability Series. Springer.

Evans, Catherine, Mike S. Harris, Anne Taufen, Stephen J. Livesley & Laura Crommelin. (2023). What does it mean for a transitioning urban waterfront to “work” from a sustainability perspective?, Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability.

Ortiz-Moya, Fernando, Marco Reggiani, Yizhao Yang, Anne Taufen, and Yatsuka Kataoka. Linking Climate Action and Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs): Moving towards Sustainable Cities and Communities. SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Knowledge Hub, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Taufen, Anne, Lisa Hoffman, and Ken Yocom. (2022). Assemblage as Heuristic: Unveiling Infrastructures of Port City Waterfronts. Territory, Politics, Governance. Special Issue, Regional Infrastructures.

Yang, Yizhao and Anne Taufen, eds. (2022). Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim. Routledge Environment and Sustainability series, March 2022.

Taufen, Anne and Yizhao Yang. (2022). Sustainable cities and landscapes: cultivating infrastructures of health. Chapter 1 in Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim (1-13). Routledge.

Yang, Yizhao, Anne Taufen, and Rachel Tochen. (2022). Learning Spaces of Policy Mobility for Sustainable Cities and Landscapes: The Role of researchers and educators. Chapter 3 in Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim (22–35). Routledge.

Taufen, Anne. (2022). “Co-production and Sustainable Development.” Chapter 56 and Introduction to Section 9, Co-production and Sustainable Development, ed. Anne Taufen, Handbook of Sustainable Cities and Landscapes in the Pacific Rim, eds. Yizhao Yang and Anne Taufen. London and New York: Routledge.

Taufen, Anne and Ken Yocom. (2021). Transitions in Urban Waterfronts: Imagining, Contesting, and Sustaining the Aquatic/Terrestrial Interface. Sustainability 13(1): 366-377.

Taufen, Anne and Anneka Olson. (2020). Practice-Based Politicization: Planning Reports as Actants in a University–Community Partnership. Journal of Planning Education and Research. August 6, 2020.

Taufen, Anne. (2019) "Politicisation of Community Development: Universities as Boundary Objects" Chapter 11 in Politics and Conflict in Governance and Planning, ed. Ayda Eraydina and Klaus Frey. London: Routledge.

Taufen, Anne, "Dear Prudence: Power, Campus-Community Collaborations, and the Elusive Space Between Constructive Disruption and Neoliberal Subcontract" (2018). Conflux. 12.

Barry, Janice, Megan Horst, Andy Inch, Crystal Legacy, Susmita Rishi, Juan J Rivero, Anne Taufen, Juliana M Zanotto, Andrew Zitcer (2018) Unsettling Planning Theory. Planning Theory 17(3): 418-438. *alphabetical authorship

Taufen Wessells, Anne (2017) Public Reason and the Planning Academic. Planning Theory and Practice 18(1):163-167.

Wessells, Anne Taufen and Raul Lejano. (2017). Urban waterways and waterfront spaces: Social construction of a common good. Journal of the Southwest. 59(1-2): 106-132. Project MUSE - Urban Waterways and Waterfront Spaces: Social Construction of a Common Good Ways of Knowing the Urban Waterway: Construction of a Shared Commons. Urban waterway redevelopment is a worldwide phenomenon of notable policy significance. It occurs at the intersection of a number of related trends (Desfor et al., 2012; Hein, 2011).

Goldstein, Bruce, Anne Taufen Wessells, Raul Lejano, and William Butler. (2015; Online First, 2013). Narrating Resilience: Transforming Cities Through Collaborative Storytelling. Urban Studies. 52(7): 1285-1303.

Wessells, Anne Taufen. (2014). “Ways of Knowing the Los Angeles River Watershed: Getting from Engaged Participation to Inclusive Deliberation,” chapter in Varieties of Civic Innovation: Deliberative, Collaborative, Network, and Narrative Approaches, eds. Carmen Sirianni and Jennifer Girouard. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Wessells, Anne Taufen. (2014). Urban blue space and the “project of the century”: Doing justice on the Seattle waterfront and for local residents. Buildings. 4(4): 764-784.

Dierwechter, Yonn and Anne Taufen Wessells. (2013). The Uneven Localisation of Climate Action in Metropolitan Seattle. Urban Studies. 50(7):1368-1385. selected for inclusion in 2017 Virtual Special Issue, "Urban debates for climate change after the Kyoto Protocol" ed. Yong Tu.

Wessells, Anne Taufen. (2011). “The ‘ultimate team sport’?: Urban waterways and youth rowing in Seattle,” chapter in The Paradox of Urban Space: Inequity and Transformation in Marginalized Communities, eds. Sharon E. Sutton and Susan P. Kemp, London: Palgrave Macmillan Press.

Wessells, Anne Taufen. (2010). Place-based conservation and urban waterways: watershed activism in the bottom of the basin. Natural Resources Journal, 50(2), Summer 2010.

Lejano, Raul and Anne Taufen Wessells. (2006). Community and Economic Development: Seeking Common Ground in Discourse and Practice. Urban Studies. 43(9): 1469-1489, August.