Strategies for a Greener Future
A charrette designs Seattle’s green infrastructure for the next century.
By Nancy Rottle, ASLA, and Brice Maryman, ASLA
Farms and forests paved over by suburban sprawl. Lakes and
rivers degraded by stormwater runoff. Rising oceans and hotter temperatures.
Is this a future that we must accept, or can we turn the
tide of global climate change and shrinking land and water resources, while
creating wonderful places to live, play, and work?
This past year landscape architects, allied professionals,
and citizen activists imagined an alternative future for Seattle in a process
called Open Space Seattle 2100. In the project’s marquis event, participants
convened for a two-day charrette to envision how tendrils of green might grow
into an ideal Seattle that would take shape over the next century.
The solutions addressed local, regional, and global issues
by imagining a cityscape that embraces a new green urbanism. By envisioning a
dense, livable city with a well-developed network of bikeways, parks, tree
canopies, restored shorelines, rain infiltrators, and other green
infrastructure components, charrette attendees changed the way many citizens
saw the city. Participants foresaw a Seattle in which city form reduces carbon emissions,
controls and cleans stormwater runoff, moderates the urban “heat-island”
effect, and curbs the exodus from urban centers to suburban greenfields. The
charrette planted the seeds of a comprehensive green infrastructure plan for
Seattle and developed a recipe for revitalizing green urbanism that can be
applied to other cities.
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