Development & Community Benefits
500-person march for community benefits at the Dearborn Project, April 2007
Unprecedented growth and redevelopment is sweeping Seattle and the Puget Sound. New towers dot downtown Seattle and Bellevue skylines. Suburban towns and cities vie for development to create new downtowns and a sense of place. Developers are finding historically redlined neighborhoods in Seattle attractive after decades of capital neglect.
Increased density in the suburbs and redevelopment of our urban core area represents an opportunity to build great cities in the Puget Sound. It holds out a promise of jobs and economic growth for everyone, including those left out and left behind by past growth and change. It also can build on the existing strengths of our urban areas - diversity, unique ethnic business enclaves and affordable neighborhoods.
But most recent development has not delivered on these opportunities. Instead, vulnerable communities are threatened with displacement, low-quality jobs keep workers in poverty and auto-oriented destinations degrade our environment. The development boom represents big profits for investors and more choices for well-to-do consumers, but is leaving out those who most need the opportunities – low-wage workers, particularly people of color, immigrants and women. This will only exacerbate recent trends of growing inequality and working poverty.
With growing regional prosperity, we should expect better from new development and growth.
Puget Sound Sage is building a powerful movement to ensure prosperity for all families from new development, especially those who the need opportunity the most - but also have the most to lose. We stand together with community, labor, faith-based and environmental organizations to demand accountability from developers and informed decision-making from local government.
We use innovative policies and tools, such as community benefits agreements, to break new ground on a model of responsible development for our urban areas. We use research to measure the outcomes of development and who stands to benefit or lose.