More Like This...

Recent Posts


Design for Livability: Sustainable Cities

Sep 24, 2009

Now in its second year, this forum brings our region’s planning, design, development, and civic leaders and advocates together to better understand what we can do to build a stronger future. Today, more than ever, we are faced with environmental and economic challenges that will define our generation, shape our future, and test our resilience. Join leaders from across the region as we tackle these challenges head-on and demonstrate solutions to building more livable, walkable, and healthier communities.

For registration information, or a more detailed time schedule, click here

Reception & Opening Lecture Presentation
UrbanLab: Sarah Dunn & Martin Felson, AIA
UrbanLab is an architecture and urban design firm in Chicago & recipient of the 2009 AIA College of Fellows Latrobe Prize. Projects include residential, new commercial, conversions of industrial buildings, restaurant interiors, and museum installations. Urban design projects include a study for the city of Chicago and a masterplan for the downtown redevelopment of Aurora, IL. UrbanLab is also a research laboratory examining the City and Chicago megalopolis. The project,, investigates Chicago’s status as a global city.



Morning plenary sessions include:

Ecodistricts: A Comprehensive Approach to the Development of a Truly Sustainable City

VIA will be kicking off this year’s AIA sponsored Design for Livability: Sustainable Cities conference with a shared 90 minute session on Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek (SEFC) and ZGF’s new Portland EcoDistrict project. Together, these two firms will be providing not only great insight into how a large scale project slike SEFC went from concept to implementation but also what the next generation of ‘EcoDistricts’ are shaping up. Presenting for VIA will be David Ramslie from the City of Vancouver and former associate of VIA, Jeff Olson. Having experience with both projects, Rob Bennet from the Portland + Oregon Sustainability Institute will be acting as moderator between the two teams, asking the ‘big picture’ questions on what’s involved with bringing an energy district online.

This co-presented session will explore strategies on how large projects like Portland’s EcoDistrict and SEFC can make major leaps of change, and will enable participants to gain greater understanding on three key topics:

  • The complexities associated with developing a sustainable energy district within a unique social, environmental, and economic context
  • The fundamental challenges and opportunities associated with an EcoDistrict’s long-term large scale collaborative design process
  • The strategies necessary for creating a development that embodies a public culture of sustainability


Creating and Activating Great Places
Karen True and Sarah Phillips (Third Place Commons) will lead a guided conversation and hands-on workshop that considers how to create, activate and sustain community-based great places that foster a sense of place, and create community ownership. Great places make living and working in a shared community enjoyable.

Afternoon breakout sessions include:

Session 1

  • Great Streets / Great Places
  • Integrating Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Neighborhoods
  • Ballard: Small Town in the City

Session 2

  • Creating Livable, Walkable Neighborhood Business Centers
  • Reimaging the City Fabric

Session 3

  • Transforming Traditional Single-Family Neighborhoods
  • 10 Easy Strategies to “Green Up” Your Zoning Code
  • Enticing Families to Live in Urban Centers

Closing plenary:

Cultural Overlay: Incentivizing Development Through Art
A discussion will be led to share creative ideas for the long-term promotion and preservation of cultural, arts, and entertainment activities and spaces in Seattle neighborhoods, and explain how these ideas can be transformed into policy recommendations that can be implemented through ordinance and budget authority. We’ll also explore how the City of Bellingham and the design team conceived of its Arts District as a place for people and how small changes made a big difference. The Bellingham Arts District is now a model of public leadership, community involvement and private investment.

Happy Hour
Join fellow conference participants, presenters, UW Faculty and students together with 50th anniversary UW Alum to continue conversations.