How We Work

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Education Legal Work Washington State legislature Family farms and forests Local organizing Sprawl overdevelopment

Futurewise is primarily focused on improving and protecting the quality of life in existing communities and protecting rural land, forests, family farms and natural areas. While our focus remains sharp and constant, the avenues to achieve the goals of smarter growth and long-term health of our communities are varied.

Futurewise uses a variety of techniques to address these issues.  They include:

  • Education and outreach to the media
  • Local organizing around growth issues
  • State and regional policy
  • Legal action


Our educational work takes us to communities throughout the state where our staff organize and facilitate workshops and forums. The focus is on how citizens can shape the answer to the question of how and where their communities will build next. Our communications team works with the media to advance the story of smarter growth and its benefits for public health and safety, economic development, and our quality of life.

Local Organizing

Our local organizing work is currently zeroed in on major comprehensive plan and critical areas ordinance updates in cities and counties statewide. The Growth Management Act requires communities to periodicically conduct these major updates. The plans serve as important roadmaps in determining the long-term health of communities, rural areas and natural lands. We're also involved with local fights to prevent growth management laws from being weakened.

State & Regional Policy

Futurewise’s state and regional policy work centers largely on urban policy—ways to make cities and towns better places to live—and transportation. How we move people and goods through our communities and our state dictates in no small way how we develop the land. Futurewise advocates for balanced transportation choices so that good decisions are made about how and where our communities grow.

We also work with the State Legislature in Olympia to defend the Growth Management Act from those who would weaken its protections for communities and the land, and to promote improvements in smart growth policy.

Legal Program

When our efforts at educating, advocating, organizing and lobbying do not convince local governments to do the right thing under the Growth Management Act, we rely on our legal program to correct the problems and protect family farms, forests and rural areas from poorly planned development while making our cities and towns great places to live.

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