The Resilient Cities, Healthy Communities program works at the intersection of human and environmental well-being. Its purpose is to ensure the Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, BC metro regions are equitable, resilient, healthy, and beautiful places to live. It promotes cities and neighborhoods where human-powered transportation is commonplace; public transit is fast and reliable; urban green space is abundant and accessible to all; housing is green and affordable; infrastructure is resilient and resource efficient; healthy food is available; and the sense of community is strong. Equity, inclusion, and diversity are guiding principles for the program.
With every effort to advance these goals, the Resilient Cities, Healthy Communities program seeks to learn from nature. Today, no cities are built around ecological principles or powered by nature’s knowledge, but some practitioners are starting to observe nature, learn how organisms function, and apply these lessons to solve human challenges.
The Foundation seeks to build a movement of practitioners and underwrite initiatives to create a future where human systems are resilient to nature’s uncertainties, such as climate change, disease, drought, and overall diminishing resources. The program focuses on infrastructure design that optimizes efficiencies among land use, transportation, energy, water, and waste systems; operates at a cost effective scale; enhances natural systems; reduces carbon emissions; and stores carbon. It advances innovative, decentralized, green infrastructure alternatives to the highly engineered and energy intensive grey infrastructure that is so common today. The program seeks to transform urban transportation systems to create transit-efficient, walkable, bikable streets that are safe and enjoyable to use. It advances policies and practices that make transit reliable and faster to use than cars.
- Advance decentralized, biomimetic, and environmentally resilient systems that generate multiple benefits.
- Prioritize the health and well-being of humans and nature by promoting walking, biking, and public transportation. Promote systems and cultures in which physical activity is viewed as a benefit.
- Encourage green infrastructure design that optimizes efficiencies among land use, transportation, energy, water, and waste systems, operates at scale, enhances natural systems, reduces CO2 emissions, and stores carbon.
Density Done Right
The Resilient Cities, Healthy Communities program supports compact cities that are human scaled, affordable, and environmentally sound. It enables cities to grow while increasing affordability and neighborhood green space. It promotes municipal policies that preserve trees and advance green infrastructure solutions such as rain gardens and green roofs. It drives the development and adoption of policies and programs that prevent displacement of local residents as cities grow. And, the program advances affordable, ecologically sound housing alternatives.
- Pilot innovative solutions to tough environmental and social problems.
- Use neighborhoods as a testing ground for new policies and initiatives.
- Ensure access to parks and natural areas for all urban residents.
- Integrate the built and natural environments and create models for nature to coexist in highly developed urban areas.
- Guarantee that growth doesn’t exacerbate social inequities and that environmental benefits are equitably distributed throughout cities.
- Engage people from historically underrepresented groups to develop and advocate for relevant solutions to environmental and social issues facing their communities.
The Resilient Cities, Healthy Communities program prioritizes initiatives that seek to create resilient locally sourced urban food systems that can meet a growing percentage of the region’s food demand. The program focuses on initiatives located in urban areas and catalytic efforts that have the potential for replication rather than one-off projects. Inherently, a sustainable and nutritious food system drastically increases the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed at the expense of meat and animal products.
- Expand new methods of urban farming that produce healthy crops without high-energy, fertilizer or pesticide use.
- Encourage wide-scale adoption of neighborhood and school food gardens.
- Cultivate scalable initiatives that mimic nature to create efficient and abundant food operations.
- Promote the increased use of fresh and healthy food instead of the current over-reliance on “fast” and processed foods.