Open Space Seattle:2100

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Nickels for Open Space

While it is very true that this story is an old one, we thought it important to recognize the Mayor's August announcement that open space in the urban centers be funded through additional development fees. Kudos to the Mayor.

However, Heather Trim of People for Puget Sound makes a great point toward the end of the article that we wanted to follow on: how can the now-funded open space create "quality" open space. For Heather, as it should be, "quality" greenspace means open space types that help control stormwater to contribute to water quality for the Puget Sound.

But what does "quality" open space mean for the developers who are paying for the open space improvements? Putting ourselves in their shoes, it would mean an increased economic return for their investment. How could an open space requirement provide a happy outcome for both the developer and the environmentalist? What if the open spaces were linear--along the streetscape--increasing retail activity, "curb appeal," property values for the developer, and what if those same spaces were part of a "natural drainage system" that were aesthetic amenities, stormwater treatment devices and enhancements to the pedestrian environment? These spaces could then feed into larger neighborhood, community and regional parks creating a network of spaces.

It is questions like these that we hope to answer at the Green Futures Charrette on February 3+4. We hope to see you all there.

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