February 21-22, 2018
Metropolitan areas face many challenges, including those of urban flooding, storm-water management, air/water quality, public health concerns, and social justice issues. Urban green infrastructure has a role in addressing all these urban issues. The summit will connect government and agency personnel, University researchers, and Extension professional, to create new collaborative networks, identify research and education priorities, and share existing resources.
12/11/17 A new survey shows that Native American women experience discrimination at higher levels than other groups of women living in America. Released today (December 11), “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of American Women” is a collaborative effort of NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Researchers polled 3,453 adults between January 26 and April 9 to find out how women experience various types of discrimination in the United States.
12/11/17 Political conservatives are particularly unwilling to accept the reality of climate change. Recent research reiterated this reluctance, and noted that it appears to stem from “worry about the economic and political ramifications of climate science,” rather than an inherent distrust of scientists.
12/2/17 In their efforts to discredit renewable energy and support continued fossil fuel burning, many anti-environmentalists have circulated a dual image purporting to compare a lithium mine with an oilsands operation. It illustrates the level of dishonesty to which some will stoop to keep us on our current polluting, climate-disrupting path (although in some cases it could be ignorance).
(11/27/17) Last year, the population of King County grew 48,600, or 2.3%. The housing stock grew 14,700, or 1.6%. The gap, 0.7%, is a rough measure of our failure to create enough housing. This is the sixth straight year when population growth exceeded housing creation in King County. Snohomish and Pierce appeared more balanced until 2014, but now face heightened housing pressures as displacement of King County workers from expensive local housing markets grows.
(11/20/17) Seattle’s elected officials want developers to build more family-sized apartments — the two- and three-bedroom units that could offer parents and children an alternative to expensive single-family home rentals. In recent years, less than 20 percent of new apartment construction has been multi-bedroom and the majority of that has been two-bedroom. The city has proposed a new policy that would require residential developers in some low-rise zones to build a two-bedroom or larger unit for every four studios or one-bedrooms they build.
(11/14/17) Every day this summer, Jeanne Hyde scanned the waters off the west side of San Juan Island, hoping that the killer whales would show up. All night, she streamed the underwater sounds from microphones submerged along the shoreline, waiting for the whales’ distinctive trills, chirps and whistles to wake her up.
(October 2017) Seattle is again the fastest growing city in the country. Our beautiful natural environment, diverse communities, and strong job market all serve to attract people to this region. As our population grows, so too must our supply of housing or Seattle will increasingly be affordable only to the wealthy.
(10/19/17) To help ensure Extension’s relevance and accessibility to an increasingly diverse population, the National Urban Extension Leaders group created a framework based on historical and emerging developments. Themes focus on programs, personnel, partnership, and the positioning of Extension at local, state, and national levels. For Extension to be a vibrant and resilient 21st-century system, it must build on best practices, leverage regional and national networks, and invest in innovative strategies that engage people living and working in metropolitan communities. A robust urban Extension presence contributes to building strong connectivity among urban, suburban, and rural communities.
(10/16/17) Almost every major U.S. city has seen years of decline in bus ridership, but Seattle has been the exception in recent years. Between 2010 and 2014, Seattle experienced the biggest jump of any major U.S. city. At its peak in 2015, around 78,000 people, or about one in five Seattle workers, rode the bus to work. That trend has cooled slightly since then, but Seattle continues to see increased overall transit ridership, bucking the national trend of decline. In 2016, Seattle saw transit ridership increase by 4.1 percent—only Houston and Milwaukee saw even half that increase in the same year.
(10/16/17) Across the West, more young people are moving out of rural communities than in. In every decade since 1980, most rural counties in the 11 Western states lost 20-somethings, without an influx of other young adults to make up for the loss, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau migration data by the Bozeman-based Headwaters Economics. A few managed to attract young people with the lure of some nearby metro area like Albuquerque or Denver, or a roaring tourism industry like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but the undeniable trend has been a slow march to cities, where, especially in the West, jobs and people are increasingly concentrated.
Extending science to serve communities is what Extension is all about. And when it comes to health, entire communities—from youth to elders, rural and urban—must band together to find solutions.
(9/28/27) Despite the fact that around 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, we, as a country, sit on a collective wealth of extra cash; somewhere in the region of $300 billion is idling in accounts nationwide. These are not emergency funds; rather, it’s what Cat Berman, founder of the new Oakland-based startup CNote, calls “just in case” cash–she estimates that there are around 30 million “oversavers,” who have an average of an extra $10,000 in their accounts.
(9/25/17) Read an illustrated timeline and story of America’s shameful history of housing discrimination.
(9/18/17) As the public hospital in Cleveland, and one of the city’s oldest institutions, MetroHealth has spent the past 180 years, turning around the lives of patients other people didn’t want to be bothered with. One of our favorite turnarounds isn’t about a patient at all, it’s about Endia Reynolds, a junior at the high school inside our hospital. Endia is the youngest of eight. One of her sisters is a nursing assistant. Her brother owns a towing company. The rest of her siblings are just getting by.
(9/9/17) Read about the the zipper merge, ‘The bubble’ and aggressive right-lane drivers to hopefully make your commute run more smoothly.
The Effects of School Gardens on Children’s Science Knowledge: A randomized controlled trial of low-income elementary schools
This randomized controlled trial or ‘true experiment’ examines the effects of a school garden intervention on the science knowledge of elementary school children.
(9/4/17) The service class is the largest class of Americans by far, making up about 45% of the entire workforce. In terms of the jobs they do and the economic functions they serve, in many ways, its members represent the 21st century analog of the old blue-collar working class. And just like we upgraded those once dirty, dangerous, and low-paid manufacturing jobs during the postwar years, we must now rebuild America’s middle class by turning service jobs work into higher-paid, family-supporting work.
A Washington State Magazine featured article
(8/30/17) At least 63,000 pounds of toxic chemicals end up in Puget Sound each day. From Puyallup to Bremerton, Port Townsend to Everett, WSU Extension and research centers are immersed in Puget Sound revitalization through a combination of investigation, stewardship, and educational outreach programs.
(8/24/17) New technology is helping local government create “smarter” cities in a variety of ways, from adaptive traffic lights to open data platforms to advanced utility meters. But with innovation comes complication. Privacy, security, and equality challenges are inevitable when the public sector tries to implement technology with the help of private companies.
(8/29/17) Airbnb is continuing its effort to help those displaced by Tropical Storm Harvey. The short-term rental service said Tuesday it is expanding its disaster response program.
(8/22/17) If you aren’t hoarding them for the 2024 eclipse, there is a very good use for them. Astronomers Without Borders will take them off your hands and put them in the hands of children. The glasses will be redistributed across South America and Asia for the 2019 total solar eclipse. They will be used to aid STEM education in schools that can’t afford to provide glasses for their students.
(8/21/17) A study conducted by University of Washington students (with funding from Microsoft and institutional support from UW and the University of British Columbia) found that 35 percent of cars moving around Seattle “are either searching for parking or are ridesharing drivers waiting for ride assignments.” The latter account for 10 percent of “cruising” behaviors, as the students call it. “It translates to a lot of fuel wasted per year, lots of wasted time,” said a member of the team.
(8/14/17) Landlords will be forbidden from screening tenants based on criminal records, under an ordinance the Seattle City Council approved Monday. The Seattle City Council approved an ordinance Monday that will mostly prohibit landlords from screening tenants based on their criminal records.
(7/12/17) The road to becoming a strong leader involves being humble, continuing to learn and accepting mistakes as opportunities to grow, writes Naphtali Hoff. “Hold to your vision and your dreams, even when it seems they have dimmed,” he writes.
EVERETT, Wash. – WSU North Puget Sound at Everett announced an August 15 ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house for the campus’s new building at 915 N. Broadway in Everett.
(8/7/17) The City of Seattle funds a summer meal program, providing no-cost breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for kids and teens ages 1-18 years. The 2017 program runs from June 28th through August 25th.
(8/3/17) This week, President Trump’s commission on combating the opioid crisis, led by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, recommended that the president declare a national emergency.
The problem has become significantly worse recently, so you might feel that you could use a little catching up.
(7/13/17) A WIDELY read cover story on the impact of global warming in this week’s New York magazine starts ominously: “It is, I promise, worse than you think.” It goes on to predict temperatures in New York hotter than present-day Bahrain, unprecedented droughts wherever today’s food is produced, the release of diseases like bubonic plague hitherto trapped under Siberian ice, and permanent economic collapse. In the face of such apocalyptic predictions, can the world take solace from those who argue that it can move, relatively quickly and painlessly, to 100% renewable energy?
(7/26/17) Access this database, enter your zip code, view the list of utilities that serve your area and discover the contaminants found in your water.
(7/20/17) – An affordable housing property is getting some national attention for its innovative design. The Marion West’s 2nd floor is dedicated to 20 units of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless youths.The 3rd and 4th floors are 29 units of workforce housing. Units cost residents $640 per month, according to Sharon Lee of LIHI. whatever 30% of their income is. The nonprofit YouthCare runs the floor. Downstairs houses the University District Food Bank. Some of the rooftop garden provides fresh produce for the food bank. Also downstairs, Street Bean Coffee is an apprentice program for formerly homeless youth.
(July 2017) WSU Metro Center’s José García-Pabón, associate professor in Extension Community and Economic Development and Latino Community Studies and Outreach specialist, has earned National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) honors in diversity for 2017. He placed second nationally and won top honors in the Western region. The awards were presented at the NACDEP-CDS Joint Conference, June 11-14 in Big Sky, Mont.
(7/18/17) Across the nation heatwaves, droughts and floods have become more frequent and more severe, increasing risks to people, homes, and infrastructure. Between 2011 and 2013, the U.S. experienced 32 weather events that each caused at least one billion dollars in damages.
Low-income communities are on the front lines of this damage, and they continue to be the most vulnerable. From the Chicago heatwave of 1995 that led to 739 deaths to Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, these areas are often the first victims of extreme weather and the last to recover from devastation.
(7/11/17) It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.
(7/7/17) How long is your commute compared to your neighboring cities? Learn more about the interactive map and your city’s commute times.
(7/2/17) Recently, a jury in Minnesota acquitted the police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop last summer, sparking renewed anger over a criminal justice system that perpetuates historic racial bias in cities. On the same day, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced his company had bought Whole Foods for $13.4 billion, potentially upending the future of retail.
These were not unrelated events. They represent the twin urgencies that local and regional leaders must confront if they want to create broad-based prosperity: Make right the wrongs of the past, while radically preparing for the future.
(6/28/17) A follow-up report that describes the communities progress over the past 11 months of implementation and future goals centered around infrastructure, industries and employment, community and workforce development, resilience and sustainability, placemaking and rural innovation.
(6/7/17) Like Seattle, Tacoma has a homelessness problem so severe that city leaders have declared a state of emergency. But the city is taking a different approach than its neighbor to the north.
Tacoma is framing its emergency declaration as one of “public health.” It’s a bit more limited than the attempts in Seattle and King County, as well as others in Portland, Los Angeles, Honolulu and the state of Hawaii, where the emergencies are more generally about homelessness itself.
(6/8/17) There’s been a good deal of recent attention to Seattle’s continued growth spurt. The Upshot column in the New York Times points out that we’re also one of the few cities that is growing denser as we add population. In fact, Seattle is already cited as the 8th most dense of the 50 most populous U.S. cities. I’ll expand on that last fact in this post – hopefully giving some context for what our current state of density means relative to the other large cities of the U.S.
(5/22/17) Legislation that will ensure women are paid the same rate as men for the same work is headed to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown for her signature. House Bill 2005, which was amended by the Senate last week, unanimously re-passed the House Monday.
(May 2017) On March 22, 2014, a catastrophic landslide affected several communities in northwest Washington when an unstable hillside gave way. A wall of mud buried an entire neighborhood, taking 43 lives and closing State Highway 530, the physical and economic lifeline for the region. In response to the disaster, Washington State University (WSU) assembled a multi-disciplinary team to support the long-term recovery of the impacted communities.
(5/16/17) View Ridge Elementary is one of Seattle’s highest-rated public elementary schools. Eighty-five percent of View Ridge students demonstrate or exceed grade-level proficiency on math and English standardized tests, well above the state average of 55 percent. But despite being a public school, it tends to be expensive to attend View Ridge—prohibitively so. There’s a structural reason for this: The city has zoned 93 percent of the school’s attendance area single-family zoning. Unless a family is wealthy enough to afford a house in the neighborhood, where home prices average $850,000, or lucky enough to find an affordable rental (only a quarter of dwellings in the surrounding census tract are renter-occupied, and rents average $3,000 per month), the chances of attending this school rest on the whim of the district lottery via the open enrollment process. This school year (2016-2017) just four out-of-area students won admission to View Ridge, and all of them already had siblings attending the school.
(5/15/17) Seattle already has the world’s longest floating bridge, and next month, it’s going one step further: building the world’s first floating light rail line. The undertaking is part of a $3.7 billion project to build a light rail corridor linking Seattle to the city of Bellevue on the east side of Lake Washington by 2023. It’s a tricky endeavor; the floating bridge has to withstand the pressure of two pairs of 300-ton trains traveling at speeds of up to 55 mph. To make it happen, the transit agency Sound Transit is turning to cutting-edge earthquake technology.
Written by: Brad Gaolach, Michael Kern and Christina Sanders
The educational program model is the principle approach Extension uses to deliver on its mission of “taking knowledge to the people.” However, with county-based faculty fully engaged in long-term program delivery, they may have little or no capacity to address emerging issues faced by urban communities. Urban governments often seek the research capacity of a university in addition to, or instead of, the traditional Extension programming model but sometimes turn first to other urban-serving universities. Washington State University Extension has addressed these challenges by establishing subject-matter centers. This article examines how subject-matter centers can add capacity to traditional Extension offices in order to be responsive to emerging local needs, suggesting models that other university Extension programs may use or adapt to their local communities. These models also foster more community engagement and articulate greater public value for the institution as a whole.
Written by: Christina Sanders, Martha Aitken and Monica Babine
On March 22, 2014, a catastrophic landslide devastated a rural region in northwest Washington. A hillside gave way, burying an entire neighborhood, taking 43 lives, and temporarily closing State Highway 530, the physical and economic lifeline for the area. Carrying a wall of mud and debris, it destroyed 49 homes and structures; creating a slide zone nearly a mile wide. In the aftermath, what emerged were resilient and interdependent communities with a shared goal of growing their economies while preserving quality of life. The events of that day could have left a region totally devastated but instead they served as a catalyst for economic revitalization efforts, and spurred Washington State University (WSU) to explore how it supports communities in moving forward after a disaster.
(5/1/17) The upzone drawn up by Mayor Ed Murray would allow even taller buildings in most of Chinatown International District, including Little Saigon, and trigger a new program requiring developers to help create affordable housing.
(4/26/17) Savino’s been mending stuff since he was small enough to fit in the chair. Now, thanks to him and a cadre of repair-happy Western Washington residents, more broken stuff is getting a second chance at life. Savino volunteers at “Repair Time,” a new King County recycling program that aims to encourage residents to think twice before tossing their broken stuff.
(4/7/17) America has an enduring homelessness problem, with incredible human and economic costs. When they’re acknowledged, homeless people are routinely shunned and criminalized, and often considered less than human. But even folks who want to help often find it hard to wrap their heads around the complex issue.
(4/5/17) If you own a house in Portland, Oregon, the county government wants to make you a deal: It will build you a free tiny house for your backyard if you agree to let a homeless family live there for five years. After that, you can rent it to whoever you want. “Like many large cities, we have a crisis when it comes to homelessness,” says Marc Jolin, director of A Home for Everyone, an initiative to prevent and end homelessness in the area that is helping fund the tiny homes.
(4/3/17) For decades, activist homeowners have held virtual veto power over nearly every decision on Seattle’s growth and development. In large and small ways, these homeowners, who tend to be white, more affluent and older than the average resident, have shaped neighborhoods in their reflection — building a city that is consistently rated as one of the nation’s most livable, as well as one of its most expensive.
(3/30/17) For better or worse, it’s common for city-dwelling families that reach a certain size to make the leap to the suburbs for more space and better schools. But even among comparable suburban neighborhoods, seemingly arbitrary school district boundaries can lead to huge differences in price.
Attention new parents: By 2020, Seattle could require all businesses in its city limits to offer you six months of paid time off. The proposal would more than double what New York offers, which is 12 weeks, currently the longest paid parental leave policy in the country.
When I was in grad school at the University of Montana back in the late 1990s, they launched a small bike sharing system as an experiment. I forget if it was Missoula-wide or just the university (Google is no help), but there were these funky green bikes with wire baskets, kept, unlocked, in wooden sheds. Anyone could take one — you were just supposed to put it back in one of the sheds. It all ran on the honor system.
Imagine a thirty-something born and bred New Yorker who packs up and move to Los Angeles. As a stereotypical New Yorker, she used transit or walked most places. Now that she lives in L.A., does her experience of using public transit in New York continue to influence her daily travel? Is she more likely to use transit than her Angeleno peers who have lived their whole lives in auto-dependent neighborhoods? Or does she adapt to the new reality, abandoning her transit habits in the context of a new built environment? In a recent publication in the Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER), we test whether past experience living in areas with high-quality public transit influences travel behavior later in life.
Community development and child development have a tight-knit relationship. Community development can have a positive impact on children by making investments that support healthy social and cognitive development. In turn, when children grow up in supportive environments, they are more likely to succeed in school and boost human capital, a key ingredient for building strong communities.
Homelessness has been prevalent in our region for some time, but in recent years there has been a clear increase in the number of homeless. This can be readily observed, and has been confirmed in various reports and statistical measurements. For example, the 2016 One Night Count in King County showed 4,505 homeless people, a 19 percent increase over 2015.
MRSC and the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) have recently partnered to produce the Homelessness & Housing Toolkit for Cities in order to document methods being employed by cities and counties to address the concurrent issues of homelessness and housing affordability. Despite a 10-year pledge to end homelessness in Washington by 2015, that deadline has come and gone. Instead, Washington is 1 of only 13 states that saw an increase in its homeless population in 2016, up by 7.3% from 2015, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.
Less than half a year after its inception the Arlington Youth Council is already creating activities for youth, such as art competitions, and supporting more options for local teens. Seven local teens formed the council last September and have been working toward their main mission of providing more recreation and activities for teens in the community.
The San José metro area is the most connected region in the United States according to the 2015 American Communities Survey. That same year, Bloomberg cited San José as America’s richest city, based on its high median income. San José, however, is very much a tale of two cities with significant inequality for income and connectedness.
From the launch of electric bikesharing systems to the rise of new carpooling concepts and microtransit services like Bridj and Chariot, cities today are facing the biggest disruption to the transportation sector since the automobile replaced the horse-drawn carriage…
The main reason for the gender gaps at work — why women are paid less, why they’re less likely to reach the top levels of companies, and why they’re more likely to stop working after having children — is employers’ expectation that people spend long hours at their desks, research has shown. It’s especially difficult for women because they have disproportionate responsibility for care-giving.
The massive Oso landslide killed 43 people, caused extensive flooding, and destroyed a key highway north of Everett in 2014, pushing the communities of Arlington and Darrington to their breaking point. Working in partnership with the two municipalities, the Economic Alliance Snohomish County and numerous local partners, the Metro Center has steadily guided the communities in their quest for sustainable economic prosperity.
This spotlight on the US prison system first delves into the statistics of mass incarceration and the rise of the United States’ private prison system. Next, an article showcases a Las Vegas-based startup company named Pigeonly that helps inmates stay in contact with friends and family. Lastly, a spotlight article written by the Metro Center’s Community Sustainability Specialist, Antony Gromko, on reducing recidivism.