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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By playing to our strengths—land acquisitions—we’re teaming up with local organizations to invigorate the local food economy in South King County. Earlier this year Forterra partnered with International Rescue Community and Global to Local to build a new community garden in Kent’s West Hill neighborhood to serve local refugee, immigrant, and low-incomes families. What started as a thicket of blackberry is now a 10,500 square foot garden for thirty-five families next to a new fruit tree orchard.
Green Everett Partnership volunteer and UW Bothell student, Candice Magbag, set to find out in her class on restoration ecology. In her final project, Candice covers the history of Forterra and her perspectives on conservation. Read her guest post and watch her video below.
Hugelkultur, have you heard of it? It’s like active composting while growing plants. This approach is believed to have originated in Europe as a technique for growing plants in places with harsh climates and short growing seasons. Directly translating to “hill culture,” it’s not fully known whether the name came from the hill-like garden it creates, or because it originated in the hill-towns of Europe.
Innovative land deal for “most controversial block in Seattle” makes a mark for inclusion and affordability in Seattle’s rapidly-changing Central District. Forterra teams with Africatown, Lake Union Partners, and Yesler Community Collaborative to make it possible.
Acres of proverbial ink have been spilled parsing the nuances of my generation. Depending on who you ask, we’re either lazy, entitled, and waiting, palms up, for our participation trophies, or we’re going to save the planet with our empathy and generosity. We’re saddled with debt, we’re under-employed, and yes, some of us moved back to our parent’s houses.
Forterra is committed to securing places that are keystones of a sustainable, equitable future in our region—from wildlands, to working farms and forests, to places in our cities for affordable housing, parks and cultural centers.
As part of our work to secure places that are keystones of a positive future around Puget Sound, Forterra is helping groups in the community that are trying to acquire land for needs like affordable housing, local small businesses, arts and cultural centers, and urban agriculture.
Forterra and Africatown Community Land Trust are working together to secure a continued place for the historically-black community in Seattle’s Central District. We hope to team in the redevelopment of Midtown Center, a 2.4-acre property at 23rd & Union, and have made a proactive, pragmatic offer to purchase the property after another buyer’s offer was withdrawn.
On a basic level, most invasive species are non-native organisms (plant, animal, insect, etc.) that have been ‘introduced’ into an environment. This year, in honor of Invasive Species Awareness Week, we asked the experts what their “favorite” invasive is and the gory details behind their love-hate relationship with these plants.