Current Research

Waterfront Stormwater Solutions
The GFL is proposing collaborative research and design projects designed to develop holistic solutions to filter, clean, and recycle stormwater in the urban environment, with an initial focus on the central waterfront area.

Green Roof Performance Studies
In partnership with Snyder Roofing of Washington, LLC, the Green Futures Lab from the University of Washington and its associates are in the beginning stages of a long-term study being developed to examine effectiveness of four (4) vendor-prescribed green (garden) roof systems.

Completed Research

Seattle Green Alleys
In this project, Gehl Architecture Interns Jenny Hampton and Mary Fialko evaluated Seattle's alley to assess their potential in having a more active role in the urban landscape. In this work the interns evaluated the built environment, potential biodiversity and ecosystem capacity and public life connections for alleys in 6 neighborhood case studies
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Downtown Seattle 2009: Public Spaces & Public Life for Seattle's Downtown
The Green Futures Lab worked with the Copenhagen firm of Gehl Architects to develop pedestrian plans and recommendations for Seattle's downtown. Over 50 students from the Lab were trained by Gehl Architects to collect data on environmental quality and existing pedestrian use of public open space, and worked with the firm to develop design solutions for a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban environment. The International Sustainability Institute of Seattle helped coordinate the efforts of the studio team, Gehl Architects, and the City of Seattle.
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Green Roof Survey
The City of Seattle Green Roof Survey provides a snapshot of the current growth and creates a baseline understanding from which to build a more comprehensive inventory and tracking tool for the green roof built stock, green roof benefits and challenges, and the emerging green roof industry. Information about existing green roofs in Seattle was collected using a combination of online research, phone interviews, and site visits. The total green roof area at the time of the report was 359,375 SF (~8.25 acres), not including large lidded areas such as the reservoirs and Freeway Park.

Plotting P-Patch Potential
Students from the Department of Geography and Professor Sarah Elwood worked together with the Green Futures Lab to develop this research as capstone to their GIS (Geographic Information Systems) curriculum. This research is an effort to identify and map existing pea patches, feasible public sites for future pea patches in the city of Seattle, and to analyze the current demographics of the population surrounding existing pea patches.
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Linking Open Space and Housing Affordability: Strategies and Funding Mechanisms
In alliance with the UW Evans School of Public Policy, this research documents the literature examining relationships between open space and property values, anticipates typical revenues generated through open space acquisition and development, and presents mechanisms for allying funding mechanisms with provision of affordable housing. Although the report focuses on Seattle it also contains valuable information for all metropolitan regions.
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Open Space System Case Studies
Case studies illustrating open space systems from the US and abroad. developed by students as part of the Open Space Seattle 2100 project.

Open Space Typologies
Typology studies include urban parks, public art, play areas, urban plazas, green structures, gardens, waterfronts, institutional spaces, streets and trails and other types of urban open space systems.

Open Space Implementation Mechanisms
Select mechanisms are briefly described such as legislation, public financing, private funding, public/private strategies, economic incentives, and institutional structures for green networks.

Student Research
Research addresses questions related to open space planning for the Pacific Northwest such as climate change, urban agriculture, forestry, impacts to public health, transportation, population scenarios, urban ecosystems, earthquake impacts, interactions of cultural groups, and the role of schools in developing green networks.

Research in Development

Measuring Values of Green Infrastructure
Through studios and scholarly research the GFL will assess values of urban green infrastructure, including cost-benefits and best practices in other cities. One current direction is development of a tool to measure the contribution of green infrastructure to protect climate and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Seattle Green Guide
In collaboration with the Integrated Design Lab the GFL is seeking funding to develop a user-friendly guide to sustainable, high performance architecture, infrastructure, and landscapes in Seattle.