Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, Seattle

Seattle, Washington, United States

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Neighborhood Type: Mixed-Use

Size: 525 Acres

Website: http://www.capitolhillecodistrict.org

The Capitol Hill Ecodistrict is a neighborhood-based sustainability initiative serving the most densely populated urban village in the Pacific Northwest. It is led by Capitol Hill Housing, a community development corporation and public development authority with nearly four decades of experience working alongside Capitol Hill stakeholders to enhance community health and affordability. Addressing eight performance areas (equity, energy, water, transportation, materials, health, habitat, and culture), the Ecodistrict provides a holistic framework for addressing local growth and sustainability challenges.

The Ecodistrict serves an estimated 15,000 diverse households, including nearly 1300 low-income households residing in CHH buildings, plus locally-owned businesses, a productive arts scene, and major medical and academic institutions in the densest neighborhood in the Pacific Northwest. Capitol Hill is the historic center of the region’s LGBTQ community and a long-time landing place for young people and new arrivals to Seattle. The Ecodistrict exists to keep this dense and rich urban environment livable for people of diverse incomes and backgrounds.

Ecodistrict successes to date include incorporating community priorities in the development agreement for the Capitol Hill light rail station, launching a shared parking pilot that the City of Seattle wants to replicate across its neighborhoods, providing low-income residents with reduced cost transit passes, installing a first-of-its kind community solar array atop an affordable housing property, piloting a pedestrian street closure series, improving pedestrian safety both on streets and within Cal Anderson Park, and working with small businesses to promote resource conservation and reduce waste. In 2015, the Ecodistrict was recognized by a City of Seattle resolution as a formal partner in advancing health and resiliency priorities on Capitol Hill. In 2016, our efforts centered around fostering a diverse and civically engaged community through the launch of the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative. The Capitol Hill Renter Summit, held in September, convened renters from across the Ecodistrict to exchange ideas, organize behind a collective political voice, and build a set of policy recommendations. Outreach intentionally focused on recruiting lower-income renters, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, and other people typically underrepresented by the civic engagement process as part of a multi-year effort to empower Seattle’s “silent majority” to assume greater ownership of the City’s evolution and growth.

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