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Significant press coverage, both before and after Reality Check, has propelled the issues of land use, transportation, and climate change to the forefront of leaders and the public’s attention. Read more below:
Quality Growth Alliance officials said yesterday they have picked the first proposed projects in the Puget Sound area
to be recognized for promoting sustainable growth. Click here to download the Reprint in PDF format from the Daily Journal of Commerce
New help for projects that meet smart growth goals
April 12, 2010
Building on This Spring’s Reality Check Consensus New Alliance Supporting Puget Sound Communities With a Fresh Approach to Important Regional Growth Issues
SEATTLE – Sept. 23, 2008 – A diverse group of leading institutions, development organizations and conservation groups today will outline their coordinated plan to help Puget Sound region communities successfully accommodate a projected increase of 1.7 million residents and 1.2 million jobs over the next three decades.
More than 500 people are expected to attend the launch of the Quality Growth Alliance: A Framework for Sound Action. The event, which begins at 7:30 a.m., is being held at the Westin Seattle, 1900 Fifth Ave.
“Where these 1.7 million new residents live and work will affect everyone and have a dramatic impact on quality of life throughout the region,” said Greg Johnson, chairman of the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Seattle District Council. “Residents will either live in walkable, thriving transit-oriented communities near job centers, or in spread-out, auto-centric areas that many of our current planning policies encourage. We can take a new approach to address today’s problems, or we can continue responding with decades-old strategies. The choice is ours and now is the time to decide.”
Alliance members have been working for months to develop resources that officials in the region’s urban areas and fastest-growing communities can use to effectively plan for significant growth.
New resources available
“One of the most intriguing tools is Decision Commons,” said Johnson. The alliance, in collaboration with Microsoft, the City of Seattle, PB, and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, created a prototype of this tool to help policy makers visualize the effects of infrastructure investments and new land-use decisions.
Planners and municipal leaders will be able to use Decision Commons to create and see three-dimensional views of the street-level experience of having more people, jobs and investments in both established and emerging urban centers.
Alliance members agree that no matter what the challenge – whether it’s congested roadways, climate change or shrinking open spaces – land-use policies are the thread that ties them together. In further support of quality growth, alliance members are conducting research, and developing tools such as Decision Commons, aimed at helping local and state decision makers make wise land-use choices.
In addition, the alliance will provide much needed land-use support and expertise to cities and suburbs where the greatest amount of growth is expected, raise awareness of how land-use decisions affect climate change, and host a program to recognize cutting-edge land-use programs.
Reality Check results announced
During the event, alliance members also will release results from Reality Check, the groundbreaking visioning exercise that was held on April 30 at the University of Washington. The findings of Reality Check are the foundation of the Quality Growth Alliance plan.
The same diverse groups that planned and hosted Reality Check are members of the alliance. They are ULI Seattle, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), the UW College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Enterprise Community Partners, Cascade Land Conservancy, Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, Futurewise, and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties Washington State Chapter.
Reality Check brought together 250 business and community leaders representing a range of viewpoints, and challenged them to find ways to accommodate the population and job growth that the PSRC projects will come to King, Kitsap, Snohomish and Pierce counties by 2040 and identify the best places for transportation infrastructure investment.
Working in 30 small groups, Reality Check participants identified barriers and solutions to quality growth for the entire four-county area. They also participated in a tactile exercise where they placed LEGOs, which represented housing and jobs, on maps of the region. Through this effort they identified in what communities growth should occur, and what kinds of transportation links should connect these areas.
The majority of the groups agreed that transportation capacity was the biggest obstacle to growth, and most participants said that the current funding for a range of infrastructure needs is inadequate. All 30 groups said that in order to successfully accommodate the growth, the region must create walkable, compact urban centers, though participants did agree that resistance to compact development is a significant barrier.
Creating walkable, compact communities was the top shared principle. Most groups also said there is a need to protect and preserve the natural environment, balance where people live with jobs, create a variety of housing, invest in multi-modal transportation, and encourage transit-oriented development.
“What was most surprising about Reality Check was the consensus,” said Patrick Callahan, Reality Check co-chairman. “We had a broad cross-section of people representing conservation groups and development companies, yet they agreed on so much. The alliance will build on this consensus.”
Other municipal regions, such as Los Angeles, have held Reality Checks, but the Puget Sound region’s exercise was the first to analyze the greenhouse gas emissions of each group’s plan. Groups that placed housing near transit scored better than tables that placed housing farther away. Those groups that mapped a plan that mixes housing and jobs fared even better. The business-as-usual plan based on current land-use patterns had the lowest reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
“This illuminates how imperative it is to change our approach to growth,” said Callahan. “We will fail if we continue using the same dated growth tactics. The alliance will help community leaders and planners implement forward-looking strategies that will do a better job of protecting our region’s cherished way of life.”
Robert Grow, founding chairman of Envision Utah, a private/public partnership that experts say has successfully dealt with difficult urban growth issues, will give the keynote speech at the breakfast meeting.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Representatives of the Quality Growth Alliance are available for interviews. Copies of the Reality Check final report also are available upon request. To schedule interviews or obtain copies of the report, contact ULI Seattle at (206) 224-4500 or fill out the contact form below.
Media members can register for today’s event by contacting ULI Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 224-4500.
About the Quality Growth Alliance
The Quality Growth Alliance is committed to building upon shared principles and fostering creative approaches not only to manage growth, but also to leverage it as a regional opportunity. Alliance members are the Urban Land Institute Seattle District Council, the Puget Sound Regional Council, UW College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Enterprise Community Partners, Cascade Land Conservancy, Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, Futurewise, and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties Washington State Chapter.
The Quality Growth Alliance (QGA) has launched a new program recognizing pre-entitlement development projects that contribute to smart growth, such as developments in walkable neighborhoods, and close to transit and employment centers.
On Jun 11 Posted in Downloads, Highlights, Press, Publications - by Amador