We are pleased to announce the hiring of Ubax Gardheere as Equitable Strategies manager at OPCD. In this position, Ubax will be managing our Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) and its related work programs, providing internal policy leadership and fostering community partnerships.
EDI will provide support and funding for new economic development projects that lead to good jobs in under-served communities. Our vision is equity of opportunity for all of Seattle’s neighborhoods and communities, including those that aren’t currently benefiting from our strong economy. Recently, Mayor Ed Murray announced that the City of Seattle will dedicate $16 million to establish the Equitable Development Fund.
Ubax comes with extensive experience in community development, and addressing equity and social justice issues working with many Seattle communities of color. Ubax has been a program director with Puget Sound Sage, developing equitable land use policies such as affordable housing and transit oriented development, utilizing a race and social justice lens.
Ubax speaks English, Somali and Swahili and serves on the boards of African Diaspora of Washington and Social Justice Fund NW. She has a Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems from Washington State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Seattle University.
Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) is a new program to ensure that growth brings affordability. MHA will require new development to include affordable housing on site or make a contribution to a City fund for affordable housing. To put MHA requirements into effect, zoning changes will allow additional development capacity everywhere MHA will apply: in urban villages, proposed urban village expansion areas, and all other multifamily and commercial zones.
View the map here: http://tinyurl.com/MHA-web-map.
OPCD is introducing a new social media feature called “Race and Social Justice Initiative Fridays” — #RSJIFridays. Our goal is to highlight content on race and social justice issues related to planning and community development. Seattle is a growing city, and as we grow, the more voices we hear on topics of displacement, gentrification, affordable housing and more. These topics affect residents in a real way. Social media sharing allows these voices to be heard, not just locally, but globally.
The City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is the City’s commitment to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity in Seattle. RSJI is leading to fundamental changes to achieve racial equity in the City’s services, operations, and the broader community. You can learn more about RSJI here: http://www.seattle.gov/rsji.
OPCD has several projects that support a more equitable Seattle. We recently published Equitable Development: Financial Investment Strategy, we continue to work with the Office of Sustainability and Environment on the Equity and Environment Initiative, and we support many other city-wide projects related to RSJI.
Mayor Ed Murray sent a mayoral directive to Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) to negotiate the sale of the Civic Square project to Bosa Development and direct the proceeds to establish a new Equitable Development Fund. The sale would also net $5.7 million in funds for affordable housing, meeting or exceeding the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program requirement. Combined, nearly $22 million from this sale will go to equity and affordability projects around the City.
“Seattle is growing and we are working to ensure that it happens in a way that is equitable, benefitting everyone who lives and works here,” said Mayor Murray. “The sale of the Civic Square property allows us to leverage our resources to invest in communities most at-risk for displacement and to make a major investment in affordable housing. While we continue to revitalize our downtown core, we are strategically investing around the city to strengthen our communities for the future.”
The Equitable Development Fund will be established with the $16 million in proceeds from the sale, and used as part of the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), which helps ensure Seattle’s existing residents and businesses also enjoy the benefits of development around the city, rather than being displaced by it. These funds will go to community-driven projects such as a cultural center for long-time residents to maintain neighborhood character or a job training program focused on good-paying jobs in the community.
Tomorrow, Mayor Ed Murray will sign Seattle 2035, the comprehensive plan to guide City development, investments, and policies over the next 20 years. The plan focuses on equitable growth and aims to enhance the quality of life for all residents as Seattle adds hundreds of thousands of jobs and residents over the next two decades. The plan was unveiled in April of this year and unanimously passed City Council earlier this month.
Mayor Murray will also sign a separate executive order directing the City to invest in equitable development in Seattle’s downtown core.
Friday, October 28, 1:30 PM
City Hall, Norman B. Rice Room (7th Floor)
600 4th Ave., Seattle, WA 98104
The Seattle Planning Commission seeks a new commissioner to start serving January 2017.
The Commission is the steward of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, our citywide vision for how Seattle grows. We debate the benefits and impacts of these important policies and advise on how best to plan for the future.
For more information on how to apply, view or download this PDF. Please apply by December 1.
We participated in a panel discussion about gentrification at MOHAI, hosted by Enrique Cerna.
Over the last five years, hundreds of U District residents have contributed ideas on how to build a more livable, walkable neighborhood as Sound Transit light rail comes to their community. For the first time, all new developments will contribute to affordable housing.
Proposed zoning changes respond to community priorities with rigorous design standards and incentives for public open space, space for social services, and childcare centers. Other incentives will help preserve historic buildings and the pedestrian shopping district of the Ave.
For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/dpd/udistrict.
SEATTLE (Oct. 17, 2016) – Today, Mayor Murray and seven Councilmembers announced two proposed changes to implementation of the Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, aimed at increasing production and addressing the ongoing displacement occurring as Seattle grows rapidly. The MHA framework is a critical tool for achieving the goal of building 20,000 affordable homes, as laid out in the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), and provides increased development capacity in combination with new mandatory housing affordability requirements. Today, the City is introducing
- A tiered approach of higher performance and payment requirements for areas – such as the U District – that are receiving a higher capacity increase than the typical one story increase proposed as part of MHA; and,
- A revised map that moves some areas at higher risk of displacement – including the Central District, Chinatown/ID and parts of the Rainier Valley – into higher performance requirements to reflect updated rent data and the City’s analysis of higher displacement risk.
These proposed changes, in conjunction with maintaining the original “Grand Bargain” framework principles across the city, including Downtown and South Lake Union, will increase projected production of new affordable homes by approximately 200-300, from the original goal of 6,000.
“While Seattle reaps many benefits from rapid growth, we have to ensure this city remains affordable for those who live and work here,” said Mayor Murray. “The voters stepped up by doubling the Housing Levy in August and today’s announcement is another step toward achieving that goal by ensuring developers are also doing their part. Requiring developers to build affordable housing or contribute to its construction helps us slow the rate of displacement caused by our city’s growth, making MHA a critical tool for ensuring our city remains affordable for everyone.”