A view of the Seattle skyline from the Kerry Park in Seattle, WA.

Learning from Seattle

In Buzz, June 2018 by Jane PorterLeave a Comment

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In April, more than 150 elected officials, business leaders, innovators and influencers from Raleigh traveled to Seattle for the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Inter-City Visit & Leadership Conference (ICVLC18). Their collective mission was to learn from a city, not unlike ours, that’s dealing with fast-paced growth: 1,000 people move to the Seattle area each week, currently more than double Wake County’s rate. But with rumblings of Apple and Amazon looking to open up offices in the Triangle, we can expect to catch up soon. We asked some of the travelers what they learned from the trip about how Seattle is coping with the same issues Raleigh faces: managing growth, keeping up with the demand for affordable housing, and planning for transportation, infrastructure and economic development. Here are some of their takeaways.


“Be proactive. [Seattle’s] transportation gridlock hurts them and the Triangle has an opportunity to plan for the long term while moving swiftly to impact transit today. Seattle’s high average home price can be avoided if we consider all types of housing inventory—high density multifamily, transit oriented development, tiny houses/granny flats and suburban development.” Billie Redmond, Trademark Properties

“Be innovative in your partnerships, don’t keep doing the norm, think outside the box and determine how academic, corporate, nonprofit, government and community can work together.” Jodi Stamey, William Peace University, via Twitter

“Encourage density and change zoning to allow ‘missing middle’ housing in single family neighborhoods. Major League Soccer is a major economic driver in Seattle and can be here. Business leaders and elected officials need to work together to address our challenges. It’s all about partnerships.” -Mary-Ann Baldwin, Holt Brothers Foundation & former Raleigh City Council member
“Growth is coming to Raleigh and we need to plan for it now. Being smart and strategic is a much better way to manage this growth than reactive, as Seattle has had to do.” Virginia Parker, Bank of America
“Our region has to rally to multiple challenges or we will be dealing with bigger issues later. We have to plan for ALL the issues that we are going to grow into and getting ahead of them is critical. Oh, and that downtown stadium!!” Steve Malik, owner of North Carolina FC, via Twitter
“Our time for planning is now and we can’t afford not to make investments in infrastructure, mobility and education to support future growth to maintain the great quality of life we enjoy in our market.” -Chris Bell, Sun Trust Bank
“Don’t wait to start advancing strategies to address your challenges.” -Kristopher Larson, President and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, via Twitter

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