I had the pleasure of joining Boston’s City to City delegation on its recent trip to Seattle, a city I called home for more than 13 years. Headed by Mayor Marty Walsh, our delegation included a broad cross-section of Boston leaders, from government agencies to non-profits to educators to the business community. We learned a lot about what makes Seattle a unique place, but more importantly, we learned a lot about the creative approaches Seattle is taking to our common problems and opportunities.
In the 11 years since I’ve been back in Boston, Seattle has undergone remarkable changes. Like Boston, its tech economy is booming and, as a result, its population is, too. In fact, Seattle is growing at a faster rate than any large city in the US. Like Boston, Seattle faces the many challenges that come with rapid growth: pressure on transportation systems, lack of affordable housing, and rising inequality. Our delegation had the chance to see how this city is working to meet these challenges and the special initiatives it is taking to ensure a vibrant culture.
Highlights of the trip included:
- Learning about Seattle’s commitment to build 50,000 units of housing over the next decade
- Visiting the new South Lake Union neighborhood, built by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s development company Vulcan as the center of the city’s life sciences and tech economy
- Public-private partnerships that are working to integrate Seattle’s downtown and neighborhood development
- The city’s commitment to public art and its extraordinary Chihuly Garden and Glass installation
- Learning about the business of the iconic Pike Place Market, the oldest continuously operating public market in the US, and the commitment of the Pike Place Market Foundation to serve its low-income neighbors
A look at our recent visit in tweets: