Livable Communities

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The sustainability of our cities – as measured by both the quality of life they provide today, and the long-term environmental protection they promise to future generations – will determine the future of our planet. Considering the host of social and environmental challenges we currently face – including global warming, air quality concerns, water scarcity, food and energy security, poverty and declining social equity – the global trend toward urbanization demands that cities be part of the solution.

Futurewise works to ensure that our cities are vibrant, equitable and healthy. Creating great cities takes action at many spheres – statewide, regionally, locally and in our neighborhoods. Futurewise uses research and analysis, meaningful community engagement, policy development, advocacy and organization to foster great cities for all.

Seattle 2035
Kent Comprehensive Plan
Transportation Levy to Move Seattle
First Hill Street Car Neighborhood Action Plan
Shoreline Transit Oriented Communities
Tukwila International Boulevard
Lake to Bay
Happy Seattle

Seattle 2035


Seattle 2035 is a yearlong, citywide conversation about change – where we’ve been, where we are now and where we want to go over the next 20 years. Futurewise is working with the City and with our partners to ensure that our city doesn’t just grow – but that it grows more equitable, healthier and more environmentally sustainable.

Affordable Housing Strategies for Seattle
In February, Futurewise released its Affordable Housing Strategies for Seattle, which outlines many tools and strategies which should be explored as part of a Comprehensive Affordable Housing Strategy for Seattle. Our approach recognizes that there is no silver bullet. Instead, there are a number of strategies which should be considered and implemented. The scale of the problem as well as its difficulty calls for a number of complementary, effective strategies to be deployed together. Click here to download the Affordable Housing Strategies for Seattle report.

Equity Analysis of Growth Scenarios
Seattle is expected to grow by 120,000 people and 115,000 jobs over the next 20 years. Where should we build housing for more residents? Will new employment centers emerge? How will this impact our transportation system, parks and other services? The city is currently examining these questions in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Futurewise is working with City staff to complete an Equity Analysis of Growth Scenarios – a comprehensive look at how our growth might impact vulnerable communities and potential policy solutions to keep the City affordable and accessible for our residents. The final report will be released in May as a companion document to the DEIS.

Health & Equity Assessment
An equitable, healthy city is one in which all residents have access to those elements which enable them to live up their full potential. In an equitable city, all residents can afford safe, quality housing, have access to quality jobs, live and work in a healthy environment, have reliable transportation, enjoy easy access to parks and recreation, and can rely on a school system which gives all children the tools they need to achieve their full potential. Futurewise is examining many of the most important determinants of equity and opportunity and examines differences in access to those determinants for residents based on community characteristics and where they live Look for our final report in May.

Want to get involved?

> Sign up for our local action alerts

> Attend a community meeting
Check back soon for upcoming meetings.

> Testify at a public hearing
Check back soon for upcoming public hearings.

> Be part of our advocacy action team
Want to do more? We are looking for a small team of dedicated individuals who are passionate about our city’s future to help spread the word about our work with friends and neighbors, who can help staff outreach events and more. If you are committed to affordable housing, a great transportation system and healthy, walkable neighborhoods, let us know here.

Kent Comprehensive Plan


Futurewise is working with the City of Kent to ensure that the City’s Comprehensive Plan is healthy and equitable. After a year of community engagement, we are now working to ensure that the policies and goals set by the City reflect the needs and priorities of the cities diverse and changing population.

In 2014, Futurewise partnered with Mother Africa, El Centro de la Raza, OneAmerica and InterIm CDA to conduct outreach and engagement with traditionally under-represented communities. Click here to learn more about what Kent residents had to say.

Transportation Levy to Move Seattle

The City of Seattle is constantly at work improving their roads, sidewalks and bridges. For the past eight years, much of that work has been funded by a voter-approved levy called Bridging the Gap, which expires in 2015. The City has proposed a new Transportation Levy to Move Seattle, a nine-year, $900 million dollar initiative which would fund transportation improvements throughout the city. Seattle Department of Transportation needs your input to finalize the plan which will go to voters on the November 2015 ballot.

The proposed investments are outlined in the Move Seattle report, which you can read here.

Want to get involved?
Take the Move Seattle Survey here.
Tell SDOT exactly what your priorities are with the Interactive Levy Builder.

Lake to Bay

The Lake to Bay area connects some of Seattle’s most iconic public spaces – the Waterfront, Myrtle Edwards Park, SAM Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Center and Lake Union Park. It is also an area undergoing rapid change as an emerging housing and employment hub. Futurewise worked with JZ Works, Framework and CMG to create and Inventory and Opportunities report which sets forth a bold vision for Lake to Bay to capitalize on new development and growth to create a world-class neighborhood centered on these iconic spaces.

The Lake to Bay Inventory and Opportunities work included a deep review of existing conditions; including research on transportation, topography, land uses, environmental conditions, current amenities, policy documents, and gaps along with future opportunities. This analysis resulted in a re-imaged vision of the Lake to Bay as a city-defining connection between the north end of the waterfront and South Lake Union, along with a focus on creating a high quality public realm for the Lake to Bay zone. Read the report here.

Happy Seattle

How does the built environment influence how we move, feel and behave? During the summer and fall of 2014, Happy City and Futurewise partnered to explore these themes with an urban experimentation lab. We concluded this work on October 23rd at an urban laboratory event which involved 150+ participants at Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park. The event featured various experiments which were designed to transform complex urban and behavioral studies into fun, participatory activities that gave participants a visceral sense of the science of place.

A key element of this work was a multi-stage research experiment dubbed Editable Urbanism, in which we worked with teams of volunteers to document and then test the social effects of building façade typologies in central Seattle. We found a remarkable connection between design and pro-social behavior. Click here to read more about this event.


Community Engagement Toolkit
An equitable plan begins with inclusive, innovative community engagement. In 2014, Futurewise partnered with El Centro de la Raza, OneAmerica and InterIm CDA to engage traditionally under-represented communities throughout King County in meaningful dialog to learn about the challenges and priorities of these communities. We produced the Community Engagement Toolkit to help other organizations and governments develop successful engagement strategies. Click here to download the Community Engagement Toolkit.

Transit Oriented Communities: A Blueprint for Washington State
The expansion of Sound Transit's new Link light rail, county-based bus rapid transit lines, and city streetcars offer more than a means of moving people from one point to another, they also are an opportunity to support and create livable communities by opening up new housing, job, and service opportunities for people to gain access to, from, and within the neighborhood.

Futurewise has been a leading thinker and advocate for building complete, compact, and connected neighborhoods around new high-capacity transit stations for all people. In 2009, Futurewise co-published our region's foremost station-area typology and best-practices manual, "Transit-Oriented Communities: A Blueprint for Washington State," with Transportation Choices Coalition and GGLO, and has since been a tireless advocate across the region.

Download our publication, Transit-Oriented Communities: A Blueprint for Washington State.

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