Green Futures Lab

The Green Futures Lab creates innovative designs for sustainable places and systems.

City of Edmonds Revisioning Plan

The GFL worked with the City of Edmonds to create plans for the expanding role of its neighborhood centers as more active and vital parts of the community. The GFL engaged the community in workshops and forums to study and re-envision the neighborhood commercial areas of Westgate and Five Corners, and developed a form-based code...

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Waterfront Stormwater Solutions

The impact of land use, impervious surfaces, stormwater pollutants and climate change are critical threats to the livability of our urban areas. Considering that a majority of the population is concentrated along waterfronts, developing solutions to these issues becomes all the more pressing. The intent of the Waterfront Stormwater Solutions is to develop and inspire...

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Woodinville Vision 2035

The GFL facilitated a visioning process for the future of a 17-acre site in the center of Woodinville. The GFL team led a design charrette with citizens and professionals, and refined ideas into two alternatives that incorporate sustainable design standards from the Living Futures Community Challenge, LEED for Campus, and One Planet Living frameworks. Volume...

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Floating Wetlands

In 2013 and again in 2017, the Green Futures Lab conducted seminars on floating wetlands. Students surveyed floating wetlands literature and precedents, investigated their benefits for habitat, stormwater cleansing and water temperature regulation, and then developed new design concepts for several freshwater locations. Each site’s biological parameters drove the designs. Carrying the momentum of the...

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Biodiversity Green Wall System

Spearheaded and designed by the Green Futures Lab, the UW Biodiversity Green Wall, Edible Green Screen, and Water Harvesting System was completed in the fall of 2012, transforming two blank concrete walls into lush urban habitat. Located in the southeast corner of Gould Hall on 15th Avenue and NE 40th Street, the award-winning project has...

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Porous Public Space

How can design help us to regard stormwater as a resource rather than waste? How can the celebration of water bring people together in public space? How might a heightened awareness of water– positioned in its unique geophysical context–promote an urban life culture with an authentic sense of place? Interns Roxanne Lee and James Wohlers...

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Urban Play Handbook

Play brings people together, stimulates creativity, alleviates stress, and cultivates delight to both the participant and the viewer. Play can also break down social barriers that often prevent diverse groups from interacting and equitably sharing public space. Therefore, providing opportunities for play in the urban public realm is an essential tactic for creating lively, just...

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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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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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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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