Want to Raise Money for a Good Cause: Organize a snowball fight and a snow-fort building competition.

 
 

Neil Bergquist, Director at Surf Incubator, a Seattle based community-supported space for digital entrepreneurs, noticed the need for young professionals to get involved with innovative forms of fundraising. After organizing a successful benefit last year for Seattle Public Library’s Homework Help program, he now hopes to raise money for the Boys and Girls club of King County. Berquist and his team are organizing a city-wide snow ball fight and fort-building competition, with hopes that Seattle can support a good cause and possibly snag a Guinness World Record away from the Republic of South Korea for the world’s largest snow ball fight.

Ryan Bourke, a team member, says the manifestation of a city-wide snow ball fight was driven by the desire to create a memorable day for Seattle as well as inspire young professionals to give back. “Giving back to the community is an investment. We see an opportunity to engage young professionals in important social causes, and attractive events like Snow Day, are a great way to engage this demographic.” The Snow Day team chose to donate all proceeds to the Boys and Girls club of King County because, “it aligns with our mission; to raise money for kids by remembering what it’s like to be one."

A city-wide snow day will take place January 12th with registration beginning at noon, followed by a snow fort competition between local businesses. In an attempt to seize a World Record, a massive snow ball fight will take place at 5pm inside of the Next 50 Plaza at the Seattle Center. Following the snowball fight will be a pub crawl in lower Queen Anne.

For more information on Snow Day visit http://www.snow.co/

Creating an affordable, inclusive Puget Sound

Creating an affordable, inclusive Puget Sound

Making room for our growing population will require more density in urban areas as well as innovation in transportation and office use.
 
 

Seattle has an enviable problem. More and more people are moving to the Puget Sound, so many that, by some estimates, the region’s population could increase by one million residents by 2040. At the same time, Seattle is constrained geographically by water and hills. Our topography is scenic and beautiful, but it also makes it difficult to build new housing.

Further complicating matters, approximately 65 percent of Seattle’s land area is zoned for single-family residences. The hourglass shape of Seattle, at its widest point—between Ballard and Magnuson Park, along 65th Street—is zoned for the lowest density. Meanwhile, the area zoned for the densest development—downtown—is narrowest and where land is most scarce.

Water, land and zoning regulations: these are the facts. If population trends continue, how will people live in our city? As Seattle densifies, how can design provide a more humane environment and housing that all residents can afford? These are some of the questions I’m interested to explore at a panel discussion on October 5, “Seattle 2040: Where Will All the People Live?” at NBBJ’s Seattle office.

 

As an architect, I’m particularly interested in how we might insert greater density, for people of all incomes, into our existing street network including the single-family areas that constitute such a high proportion of Seattle. Mother-in-law apartments, residential units over garages, duplexes and townhouses are just a few options. Done right, we could increase density and affordability without dramatically changing the character of those neighborhoods.

This November a major ballot initiative, Sound Transit 3, could raise billions of dollars to expand light rail. If that happens, it would substantially increase the number of transit-oriented centers in our region, which would lessen the impact of building because we could spread it across more light rail stations.

There are other options. We could look at reusing and densifying public rights-of-way. High-rises like the “no-shadow tower” could mitigate the impacts of tall building on the urban environment. Or driverless cars might create a new transportation system in the next 25 years that fundamentally changes how we get around and where to encourage development.

If you think about the design of office space, 25 years ago, a majority had a private office with limited public amenities; now office space is moving in the other direction, asking people to have less personal space at their desk, but having access to a wider range of shared amenities. I almost think we need a similar approach whereby people move from large single-family houses to smaller homes or apartments. The key to making this work is to have access to more shared, semi-private amenities or nearby public open space.

Some of the issues Seattle faces also challenge many other U.S. cities, but these challenges cannot be solved by design firms single-handedly. A city’s growth affects everyone, young and old, rich and poor, newcomers and long-time residents. We are in this together, and it will require everyone to bring about our shared future. 

David Yuan, AIA, LEED AP, is a partner at global architecture and design firm NBBJ.