Event Recap: Matching Industry Growth with Sustainable Development, The New Tech Challenge

On Wednesday, September 25th the Seattle Campus hosted a presentation as part of our Local Leaders, Global Impact speaker series. The topic of the event was “Matching Industry Growth with Sustainable Development: The New Tech Challenge”. Some back round on the topic:

“The Puget Sound tech sector is exploding. Since the ‘90s, our information technology sector created two-thirds of Washington’s job growth, which now represents 27 percent of all jobs in the state, mostly in the Puget Sound area. At the same time, cities are striving to achieve aggressive sustainability goals. With this growth driving our real estate market, are our developments and land use policies meeting the demands of this vital sector in ways that help us achieve our climate goals?”

The presentation featured four panelists representing academia, the public and private sector. The moderator for the event was Dr. Joan Fitzgerald. Dr. Fitzgerald is professor and interim dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Her third book, Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development (Oxford Univ. Press, 2010), examines how cities are creating economic development opportunities in several green sectors and discusses the state and national policy needed to support these efforts. 

The first presenter was Kathleen Owens, President and General Manager of the Attachmate Business Unit of Attachmate. She discussed her companies recent decision to relocate to a downtown office building. Attachmate is part of a new trend where companies are moving their headquarters to downtown office spaces as opposed to sprawling suburban developments. One of the most unique aspects about the adaptation was managing employee concerns and perspectives. 

The next presenter was Greg Johnson, President of Wright Runstad & Company. Johnson talked about The Spring District, an “ecodistrict” in Bellevue consisting of a mix of commercial and residential properties. From The Spring District website, “We’re creating a neighborhood that draws people in, just to be, sharing space with all the other people who are drawn to it too.” The development will be constructed in three phases with an estimated completion date in 2026. Learn more about The Spring District and watch a great video here.

The final presenter was Hilary Franz, CEO of Futurewise. From their website “Futurewise works with communities across Washington State to save farms and forests, protect rivers and coasts, and build strong cities and towns for all.” Franz talked about sustainable policy and civic engagement. Prior to joining Futurewise, Franz represented local governments, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups on a broad range of land use planning and policy issues.

After the presentation members of the audience asked questions and got into some interesting discussions about sustainable urban development with the panelists. 

To see more pictures from the event, go here.

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