2017 UW Runstad Fellowship travels to Australia to study equitable development.

Exploring issues of affordability, livability, and racial-social inclusion to inform Seattle’s best practices for the next 100 years.

Real estate that empowers
Seattle’s growth has created the third highest median income in the country, increased the supply of housing by 12,000 units per year for the last four years, and attracted diverse companies and their talent to the region faster and longer than any other period in history.  The growth has also brought unintended negative consequences to our neighborhoods, creating displacement, cultural diaspora and significant barriers to new development, reducing affordability.  As a result, our growth is neither equitable nor sustainable.  Without new models of development, we run the risk of outpacing San Francisco, Manhattan and other cities which struggle with limited supply of housing, skyrocketing costs of living, lack of socio-economic diversity, and inequity.

If density is a requisite for sustainable growth, and we know that socio-economic diversity increases health, creativity and productivity for everyone, then we must find more equitable and inclusive development models. 

FIX founder, Shannon Loew is one of the two professional Affiliate Fellows selected annually by the UW Runstad Center for Real Estate.  Together with Martha Barkman (Mack Urban), Rosey Atkinson, Rachel Berney, and Gundula Proksch, the Fellowship team traveled to Sydney and Melbourne to study projects, policies and organizations worth emulating with the goal of developing specific recommendations on how we might inform Puget Sound’s regional growth.  While plans like the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan focus on equitable city growth, it is limited Seattle and has a limited time-horizon.  The 2017 Fellowship focused on development strategies and regional solutions that consider the next 100 years of growth.  The team explored solutions across all aspects of the industry, including policy, project delivery methods, organizational and legal structures, financing mechanisms, and programmatic ideas.  Areas focus were:

  1. Affordability – cost of housing and everyday needs including food and services
  2. Livability – access to transportation, job opportunities, open space, factors of health and wellness
  3. Racial-Social inclusion – displacement and participation in long-term wealth creation

The 2017 Runstad Affiliate Fellows presented their findings at the HUB in Pioneer Square in September 2017, at the University of Washington in November.  They will also present at the 2018 NAOIP meeting in January.  Download the PDF here (large file).