Kicking goals in Puget Sound

Really impressed with what I saw and learned in Seattle on our recent Green Shoe Travel “Poster Child Cities” tour. The Puget Sound city, home of Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, Jimi Hendrix and Pearl Jam, is riding another tech boom with a myriad of startups, so it is now the second largest tech cluster in the USA, and crawling with creative gen Y types.

And it is doing some great city building. In no particular order, Seattle is:
РRolling out an expanding light rail and street car network and facilitating transit oriented development around these

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– undertaking major urban renewal, including the massive South Lake Union area where Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc is a major player

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– removing the Alaskan Way freeway viaduct between the downtown and the waterfront, replacing it with a tunnel

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– after considerable community involvement, about to implement some really impressive plans to reconnect the city with its waterfront
– continuing its focus on clean and green, including major farmland protection programs driven by transferable development rights
– running amazingly successful car share schemes.

No wonder companies like Amazon show up unannounced and say they want to invest more in their town. They have already taken up about 200,000 square metres of office with some about 12,000 employees in South Lake Union, but that wasn’t enough, so they are building another three office towers of new space close to the Space Needle which will take their total Seattle workforce to 30,000 employees.

And when the Freeway viaduct comes down and the work done to reconnect the city and waterfront, I think this place will go bananas.

Greg Vann
November 2013

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