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Celebrating more than 20 Years of Smart Growth in Washington!

GMA Futurewise Our Story

In the late 1980’s local citizens and leaders were grappling with increased growth in Washington without a clear or coordinated plan. Traffic was increasing, development was spreading out into rural and farmlands, forests and shorelines.  Communities were struggling to provide adequate infrastructure to support this growth such as schools, roads, and emergency services.  This convergence of pressures started a conversation that would eventually result in the adoption of the Washington Growth Management Act (GMA).

In 1990, leaders including Governor Booth Gardner, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Speaker of the House Joe King, along with other local lawmakers and citizens, helped pass the GMA.  Washington was only one of a few states in our country to enact such a law that would protect our environment, farms, resource lands, and water quality, while ensuring that our communities would grow in a sustainable way.

During this time, local citizens who wanted to ensure that our state would achieve the GMA’s goals and grow in ways that protect our important resources and quality of life, decided to form 1000 Friends of Washington (now Futurewise).  Because our state government did not create an entity charged with making sure that counties and cities met the requirements of the GMA, Futurewise was created to take on this role.  In this way, local citizens would play a critical role in influencing how their local communities would grow.

Today, as Washington’s premier Smart Growth advocate, Futurewise creates long-term solutions to increase the quality of life for both our urban and rural residents.  We still work to protect forests, farms and shorelines by limiting development on critical rural and resource lands and habitat.  We also advocate and promoting vibrant, compact, livable development in our urban communities by supporting housing options, affordability, transportation choices, and smart development patterns. Futurewise is also on the forefront of leveraging how smart growth policies can play a key role in reducing greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

As we reflect back on the past 20 years and look to our role in taking Washington into the next two decades of smart land use and healthy communities, your partnership and support of our efforts is most appreciated.  There is much to be done to take the next bold steps in making sure that Washington maximizes opportunities to link transit with the kind of community development that reduces commute time and vehicle miles traveled, provides access to jobs and affordable housing, ensures the availability of community services - all the while taking pressure off working farms, forests, natural ecosystems and water quality.

We hope that you will join in on the conversation to create a path to ensure that we make smart choices now and for the future.

On March 20, 2010 we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Growth Management Act and Futurewise.  Click here for a recap of the event.

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