Perspectives — Urban

Sustainable cities are great places to live, with space for all of us. Forterra secures land in our cities for social good—parks, green space, affordable housing, access to transit, the arts, and other essentials for equity and livability.

Mass Timber: The Innovative Future of our Built Environment

New building code changes in Washington to permit mid and high-rise mass timber buildings, allowing the state to take a huge step forward for the sustainable future of our built environment and will revolutionize the way we design, build and grow.

Continue

Our Magical Intellectual Circus

Identity. Caribou. Social justice. Brass. Dogs. Climate change. Sasquatch. Hope. More than 1300 people joined us at the Moore Theater for Ampersand LIVE, our evening of storytelling about people and place, and there are so many unforgettable moments.

Continue

Putting Down Roots

Almost 1,900 volunteers converged to celebrate Green City Days at parks and green spaces across Puget Sound this fall. They planted more than 11,500 native plants. There are now twelve cities in the Green City Partnerships—Everett, Kent, Kirkland, Puyallup, Redmond, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tacoma, Tukwila, SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines—and these annual events give volunteers a wonderful opportunity to help restore their local natural areas while building community through stewardship.

Continue

Forterra awarded Olmsted Medal

Forterra was recently awarded the prestigious Olmsted Medal of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Conferred annually at ASLA’s national conference, the Olmsted Medal is one of the Society’s premier honors.

Continue

Better than this

The orca mother Tahlequah carried her dead calf for 17 days. People around the world were transfixed. Together, we ached with empathy. My sadness blends into frustration and guilt because the loss of this orca calf has a broader meaning. We are failing a crucial litmus test for the health of our Pacific Northwest.

Continue

Proceed with Caution

Booming Seattle is the antithesis of progress for those trying to navigate it while blind. Crammed within a single half-block of Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, scores of orange diamonds and white rectangles splay themselves out along curbs, sidewalks and streets, forming a confusing kaleidoscope of a city under construction.

Continue

What Would Nature Do?

It seems like there is no end to the problems humans must solve. There are global challenges: human-driven climate shift, ocean acidification, war, the plights of refugees. The Seattle area also struggles with its own growing list of issues, from a lack of affordable housing, to growing inequality and major traffic woes.

Continue

Shining Light

Chris Jordan is a 27-year-old award-winning Tacoma visual artist known for infusing activism into his work. Seeing little recreational space within Bay Terrace, an affordable housing community in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, Jordan partnered with the Tacoma Housing Authority to create Home Court, an illuminated ultra-futuristic basketball court that is one of the most unique art installations and community gathering places in Washington state.

Continue

We’re Nuts About Squirrels

One evening, back when he was in high school, Derek Stinson returned to his Massachusetts home with his parents to encounter his younger brother, Jay, waiting for them at the door. “There’s something in the cupboard,” Jay told them, “and it’s not a rat.” When Derek peered into a cupboard containing the family’s breakfast cereal, a pair of big eyes stared back. They belonged to a southern flying squirrel.

Continue

She Took Action

Necessity is the mother of invention. It calls for vision, courage and tenacity. That’s a good thing because it has never been more imperative to find ways to protect Mother Earth and save our little corner of the planet. So we asked activists across our region—women making a big difference—what inspires them to stand up and take action for the places they love.

Continue

Vote ‘Yes’ on 1631 for a Cleaner, Healthier Washington

Pollution and climate change are threatening Washington’s health, communities, economy and landscapes, and without action the challenges we face will only get more grim. Initiative 1631, which is on the statewide ballot this November, could help us make crucial moves to fight back. It’s time we stand up for our land and our future, and secure a better Washington for our generation and generations to come.

Continue

See the Forest for the Teas

With fall just around the corner, try out some teas made from plants native to our local forests! Douglas fir, Grand fir, Stinging nettle, and Nootka rose are all great options, and the process is relatively simple.

Continue

#FremontCANpaign Photo Contest

This summer we’re teaming up with Fremont Brewing and REI for the 5th annual #FremontCANpaign. It’s an Instagram photo contest that celebrates the natural beauty of Washington and some of our favorite local, sustainably-made, independent craft beer.

Continue

Offset Your Adventures

Here in Seattle, we love to hike. But hiking comes at a cost—to our environment. A round-trip drive between Seattle and Mt. Si emits roughly 80 lbs. of greenhouse gas. For a longer trip—say, a weekend at Mt. Rainier National Park—you could emit about 200 lbs. The numbers add up when considered over the course of a year. Driving 100 miles every weekend will spew approximately 5,000 lbs, or 2.5 tons of carbon, into the atmosphere over the course of a year.

Continue

Kent Community Garden Opens!

Thirty five family gardening plots and an apple, pear and cherry orchard will benefit recent immigrants from Congo, Sudan and Bhutan at a new community garden in Kent.

Continue

Welcoming All Our Neighbors

The vision is for the Knight’s Inn property is to build a new community-owned affordable housing and mixed-use commercial space. The ground floor of the building will serve as an international market for a variety of refugee- and immigrant-owned micro-enterprises that are facing displacement in this fast-changing community.

Continue

Snohomish County Decision Broadens Conservation Options

A vote by the Snohomish County Council last week amended zoning along the Highway 99 corridor between Lynnwood and Everett to encourage more compact development near transit, expanding options for farmland conservation by adding areas where new construction can take advantage of a program called transfer of development rights.

Continue

Layers of the Forest

Trees provide many benefits for human communities, including a positive effect on health, local economy, safety, child development, and stormwater infrastructure. They’re also vital to another constituency of Seattle residents and visitors—our birds. Each layer of the tree canopy provides habitat to specific birds. Learn which birds live where in your neighborhood trees!

Continue

Cross Laminated Timber Bill Passes Legislature

Washington State is poised to be a national leader in mass timber construction with the passage of SB 5450, which will support the expanded use of Cross Laminated Timber and other mass timber products. The legislation requires the State Building Code Council to adopt rules for the use of mass timber products for residential and commercial building construction.

Continue

Fund for Good

High-flying companies are fueling a red-hot economy around Puget Sound bringing more than a thousand new people each week, intensifying trends of gentrification and displacement. That’s why Forterra is bringing our nearly 30 years of expertise negotiating land transactions in wilderness and farms to our cities. Whether it’s open spaces for nature and play, or affordable homes and vibrant, diverse communities, it all begins with land.

Continue

Building for a Sustainable Future

In 2015, Forterra spearheaded a conversation with about eighty stakeholders to discuss leveraging CLT and mass timber products to improve forest health, stimulate employment in rural communities, and house a growing urban population. Just over three years and an established CLT Coalition later, engagement has grown substantially.

Continue

15,000!

Across the Puget Sound this fall, more than 2,200 volunteers converged at area parks and green spaces to celebrate Green City Days. Now boasting nine cities in the Green City Partnerships, these annual event connects community members across all age, ethnic and economic backgrounds for a common goal: helping to keep our forested parks and green spaces environmentally healthy.

Continue

Can a Golf Course Save Orca Whales?

It’s no coincidence that as Puget Sound grows (and continues to grow), the amount of green space, salmon, and orcas have been in decline. In the intricate, messy web of life that connects locals and transplants, salmon and orcas, and all the other creatures to this place we call home, every decision we make reverberates across seen and unseen threads, making an impact that is as large as it is lasting.

Continue

Top 7 Takeaways about Autonomous Cars

Wednesday evening saw around 100 curious folks pile into the Living Computers Museum and Lab in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood. The subject is one of great and growing curiosity—autonomous cars, and the myriad ways they’ll effect our lives.

Continue