Green Futures Lab

The Green Futures Lab explores and promotes planning and design for active transportation, including cycling and pedestrian environments. The GFL has developed a wide body of design and public guidance manuals to improve our streets, alleys, trail systems and public spaces.

Activating Alleys for a Lively City

Seattle’s alleys are underused and considered to be the ‘backside’ of the city. There are 456,390 SF of existing public squares, parks and pedestrian streets in downtown Seattle. However by reevaluating and reformulating our alleys we can integrate exciting, green, and healthy public spaces into our existing urban environment. This Seattle Integrated Alley Handbook was...

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Shifting Gears

The benefits, utility, and joys of traveling by bicycle are countless, and the relative costs affordable. Yet it has been challenging for US cities to develop the kinds of infrastructural facilities that would make cycling available and attractive to large portions of their populations. Copenhagen, Denmark provides an inspiring example of municipal commitment to cycling...

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Global Green Lecture Series

Global Green is a lecture/panel series showcasing Sustainable Planning and Design in the Pacific Northwest and Denmark. Funded by the Scan Design Foundation. The themes to date have been: Autumn 2011 “Livability or Gentrification? Democratic Neighborhood Revitalization in Copenhagen” Speaker: Bianca Hermansen, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Spring 2009 | Toward a Walkable Seattle: Drawing...

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Seattle’s Neighborhood Greenways

The City of Seattle is working to enhance transportation options in the city and Neighborhood Greenways are becoming an integral part of the process. Reducing vehicle speeds and traffic volume is necessary for Neighborhood Greenways, but by creating inviting space for non-motorized users, Neighborhood Greenways can also bring about larger scale neighborhood and environmental improvements....

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Re-Imagining Seattle Streets

This was the challenge presented by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), with a long connective arterial in the Magnolia neighborhood as our testing ground. This street was selected due to its exceptionally wide planting strips, its underlying water and habitat connections between Elliot Bay and the Ship Canal at the Ballard Locks, and its primacy as...

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Map Ping Invitations

Did you ever come across a little spot in your neighborhood that you just found, by accident, and as you lingered, you found yourself leaning on a ledge or sitting on a bench under a tree? As time passed, you realized that you were meant to be there. Someone had set up this situation for...

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Public Spaces | Public Life Studios

The Public Spaces Public Life studio in the College of Built Environments combines international study experience with multi-disciplinary collaboration on local projects in order to explore planning and design solutions for Seattle’s public realm. Before the studio, students travel to Copenhagen, Denmark to visit the office of the renowned Copenhagen firm Gehl Architects and see...

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Open Space Seattle 2100

This collaborative project asked leaders from civic, environmental, business and community groups to create a comprehensive open space vision to guide Seattle’s urban development over the next 100 years. The urban watershed-based process included a city-wide design charrette with 23 teams led by local professionals and UW students. The 200-page final report documented visions and...

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Adaptive Streets

Adaptive Streets: Strategies for Transforming the Urban Right-of-Way is an illustrated handbook to inspire and guide citizens, planners and officials to re-imagine how our streets can be adapted to increase utility and delight as well as enhance human and environmental health. The book presents a collection of strategies, demonstrating how they can be implemented in...

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Burlington at a Crossroads

In 2013, Burlington, WA—a small agricultural city located in the Skagit Valley north of Seattle—engaged an interdisciplinary team of graduate students and a faculty advisor from the University of Washington Green Futures Lab (GFL) to generate ideas for a Comprehensive Plan update. City planners and the GFL convened numerous public workshops, forums, and presentations to...

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