Open Space Seattle:2100

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Envisioning Green Infrastructure

Thanks to the PI for covering our big unveiling Monday night. It was a great time, well attended and we rolled out the "themes" from the charrette. Actually, as someone pointed out, we rolled out meta-themes and sub-themes, but somehow missed the actual themes. Or maybe we mis-named something in there. Whoops!

It was a fun night and made some great contacts after the event who were really excited and exciting to talk to. Thanks to Provost Phyllis Wise, Councilmember Conlin, Councilmember Steinbrueck, Ken Bounds, and Diane Sugimura for coming out on a busy, busy night. We truly appreciate your time and support.

Guerrilla Gardening

Guerrilla Gardening? Is that the new Jane Goodall book? No, dear friends, not at all. Rather it is a movement started by Richard, a urban gardener in the olde country. Under cover of night, they go out and graffitti sites around central garden, but rather than the blighty remnants of spray paint and sharpie markers, the "tags" of these guerrilla gardeners look like this

and this:It is reclamation of public space on a micro-scale that is amazing, local and beautiful. They also offer links to guides on how to make a "seed bomb." Homeland Security, fear not, these Christmas ornaments and waterballoons are filled with seeds that can take root in inaccessible spaces. Check it out here.

Also listen to the NPR story of the day, here, that features the Guerrilla Gardeners.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Green Mayoral Celebrity Showdown: Nickels v Daley

Who's the greenest Mayor in the land? Sure, Mayor Nickels gets face time in Vanity Fair, but the New York Times gives Mayor Daley of Chicago, in the parlance of the day, major props. Why, you may ask, would the Times give so much newsprint to some Second City in the midwest? What about the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement? The Times barely mentions it.

But know what gets time going? What excites some hoidy-toidy Big Apple journalist as the most promising, most evocative metaphor for a future green urbanism? Is is high-performance buildings? Green energy sources? Pipe-bombing cars (remember Daley did bulldoze an airport surrepticiously overnight)? No no no, of course not. The salvation of our city lies in . . . mulch.

We knew it. For more benefits of mulch, read here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Proclamation: Grazie Councilmember Conlin + the City Council

On Monday, May 15th Nancy and I briefed the Council on some of the out comes from the Green Futures Charrette and Open Space Seattle 2100 as a whole. We also let them know about some of the measures that we are looking at proposing to the Mayor to include as part of his budget. More on that in a future post.

A very special thanks to Councilmember Richard Conlin who took the lead on arranging this opportunity to talk with the Council, and who spearheaded the next exciting event of the day. At the afternoon full Council meeting everyone who participated in Open Space Seattle was presented with a proclamation by the entire council that reads as follows:

WHEREAS, Seattle’s population is expected to at least double within the next 100 years; and

WHEREAS, to remain a livable city while increasing density Seattle must possess an open space system that gives people access to green spaces where they live, commute and work; and

WHEREAS, Open Space Seattle 2100 is a coalition of urban leadership that is sponsoring a public discourse and planning process to engage citizens in a collaborative visioning of Seattle’s open space network; and

WHEREAS, The centerpiece of the project was a planning charrette that generated comprehensive vision plans including implementation strategies and priority recommendations for a city-wide open space network; and

WHEREAS, The open space plans were based upon a set of guiding principles;

NOW THEREFORE, be it proclaimed by the Seattle City Council that the Seattle City Council embraces the guiding principles of Open Space Seattle 2100 and its goal to create a bold, integrated Open Space Plan with implementation strategies for Seattle’s next hundred years which will enhance the health and well-being of both our cultural and natural environments. This vision of a regenerative green infrastructure will strive to create a healthy, beautiful Seattle while maximizing our economic, social and ecological sustainability.

Now it is up to us to make this dream a reality. How cliched.

To watch the video: briefing and proclamation

Ride of Silence: May 17

Tomorrow night, starting at Gas Works Park, cyclists from around the City will gather in Gas Works Park to embark on a 14 mile ride to honor and raise awareness of cyclists who are killed in accidents every year.

Please join us for a community ride of silence to commemorate the many cyclists who have been seriously injured and/or killed while cycling on public roadways. Though this is not an official CBC ride, CBC fully supports this ride in conjunction with many other bicycling organizations. We will be riding no more than 12mph, silently and respectfully in double file in a stay-together group. The turnout could be very large, so plan accordingly. Please carpool or ride to Gas Works for the start. For more information go to

Viaduct Roundtable at Town Hall

After the OSS 2100 presentation at City Hall, our friends over at the People's Waterfront Coalition (not an endorsement, just that they are, in fact, friends) will be hosting an event at Town Hall. It starts at 7:30 and is just a short walk away from City Hall. We suggest you come and hear what these speakers have to say.

Here's the information from Cary over at PWC:

John Norquist, director of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and Scott Bernstein, president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, are coming to Seattle May 22 and 23. Their two organizations are doing a national study of the economic and civic benefits of tearing down urban highways and replacing them with surface streets, and their study includes analysis of Seattle's viaduct removal / replacement situation. City Council is hosting a brown bag lunch discussion at noon on the 23rd, and the People's Waterfront Coalition and Transportation Choices Coalition are organizing an evening roundtable discussion with them at Town Hall the evening of May 22 7:30 to 9:00 pm.

David Brewster will moderate the roundtable discussion event. We've invited Anne Vernez Moudon from UW to be on the panel, and Denis Hayes from the Bullitt Foundation and Green Ribbon Commission. If they can't, we have some other great possible panelists to invite. The format is presentation by Scott and John, then moderated discussion, then questions from the audience.

John and Scott give a great presentation about successful urban streets, mobility in cities, and make some very interesting arguments about how highways are a rural model that doesn't fit well with city grids. As the Mayor of Milwaukee, John led that city to remove a waterfront elevated highway, and they're now beginning to reap significant economic and civic benefits. Scott has been a hero in the world of preventing sprawl and offering smart alternatives to highways for decades. He was a co-founder of the Surface Transportation Policy Project, was on Clinton's President's Council for Sustainable Development, and is a board member for the Brookings Institute Center for Urban and Metropolitan Policy. They have already done economic and case study traffic analysis which is all turning out in favor of our Transit + Streets proposal (surprise!) and are ready to start sharing their knowledge.

Public Presentation: May 22

Join with members of the City's leadership on May 22 to see the collated results of the Green Futures Charrette, and to find out about and promote immediate implementation ideas for Open Space Seattle 2100. The presentation will be in the Bertha Landes Room at City Hall, 6:00 - 7:30 pm.

And, don't miss the "Seattle's Green Future" Exhibit in City Hall lobby. Posters representing half of the Charrette Study Areas are on display now, and will be replaced with the others in mid-May. The exhibit also features a short video of February's 2-day charrette.

Hope to see you there!

Nancy Rottle
Brice Maryman
Co-Directors, Open Space Seattle 2100

Information about transit, parking and access for mobility-impaired persons can be found here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Show us the Benjamins

The Economic Impact of Open Space. We know it's good for the economy, but just how good?
Now you know.

McMahon Shows Us the Green

On the Smart Grown Online website there is a truly inspirational talk from Ed McMahon from the Urban Land Institute. While promoting his new book, Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities, McMahon makes some powerful arguments for reframing the way we think about open spaces from amenity to necessity.

In a recording from the National Building Museum's Smart Growth Speaker Series.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Where we go, trees are slow to grow

There's a nice article in the Toronto Star this weekend about how the idyllic "tree-lined suburb" might not show up for about a century thanks to those big earth moving machines and a utter disregard for the complexities of soil. If the link is broken, search for the articles title: Why Suburbs Will Never Have Tall Trees.

In related news, the ASLA and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are putting together a LEED style metric system called SITESS.