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Seattle’s Resilience Roadmap

Cover image of the Seattle-Future City Resilience Roadmap

Over the last decade, Seattle has become the fastest-growing city in America. Our region is a magnet for some of the greatest talent in the world. For many of our communities, Seattle is a place where they can build a better future for themselves and their loved ones. But that’s not the case for everyone. Our incredible growth has undoubtedly brought with it incredible challenges for our city, and our prosperity has not been broadly shared.

From earthquakes and natural disasters to man-made climate change and a crisis of affordability, many large cities are facing similar challenges to the long-term safety and security of their residents. As part of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) network, Seattle committed to increasing our capacity to survive and thrive, regardless of the challenge. Our first-ever Resilience Roadmap lays out a path to do exactly this. It includes our vision for a City of the future and outlines how our City can become more resilient to the shocks and stresses facing many major cities today.

Spread of the table of contents. Text reads: "Framework: 4 chapters, 15 goals, 69 actions"

This document shows just some of the things we must do to ensure that our City is prepared to address our challenges now and in the future by: creating more affordable housing in every part of this city and make meaningful progress for those experiencing homelessness; building true economic opportunity for young people and all workers, who continue to make us the city that invents the future; advancing public safety, justice, and equity, as we continue to dismantle institutional racism and bigotry that is a barrier to social justice; building civic treasures, public spaces and parks that everyone can enjoy – especially the next generation; and connecting all of it with world-class, safe multi-modal transportation options.

This work also focuses on what we must do to prepare for acute shocks— events that could threaten our City’s ability to function, such as natural disasters – while we address the chronic stresses that threaten life in our region: income inequality, chronic homelessness, traffic congestion and threats of worsening air due to increasing regional wildfires.

Spread of an interior page with heading that reads: Chapter 4: Fostering Generational Investments

Some this roadmap touches on successes that we have already won like the creation of the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program to provide free college to our young people – but our work is far from done. The recent proposal to sell a property in South Lake Union creates a generational opportunity to invest in our future, through nearly $300 million of public benefits including 175 affordable units on-site in South Lake Union, investments in our comprehensive transportation system, low- and middle-income housing, and a new community center. This sale also allowed us to leverage $5 million to address homelessness. The sale is an example the approach that is at the heart of our new Resilience Report: We need to keep prioritizing policies and projects that advance multiple critical needs at once. Progress cannot be siloed.

I am grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation for partnering with us on creating this roadmap. This report lays out our shared priorities for Seattle. It highlights the urgent action we’ve taken far, and  underscores what we can accomplish when we work together to give everyone in Seattle the tools they need to access the incredible opportunities available in our City.

That’s what building a city of the future is all about.