Streets for People: A Potpourri of Green Groups

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Streets for People, a project of the Seattle Great City Initiative was officially launched on February 12 at an event in the Lake Union Park Naval Reserve Building. Community groups, businesses, city and county government agencies and advocacy groups that are working to reduce Seattle's car-dependence and are empowering people and communities to adopt a sustainable lifestyle were all represented, and a wide range of information of interest to the Green community was on display. I've described a few of the groups and projects below. A complete list of members of the Streets for People coalition can be found on the Great City website (scroll to bottom of the page).

Sustainable Communities

Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound, or SCALLOPS, is a network of community groups throughout Western Washington. The individual groups focus on neighborhood-specific projects ranging from urban farming to pledge drives to reduce driving to helping people buy, barter, grow or gather local food. SCALLOPS helps these groups build relationships and share resources and experience, empowering them to lead change in their communities. It currently consists of 63 different groups, including 18 representing Seattle neighborhoods.

Who Needs Cars?

Streets for People seeks to make non-car transportation the norm in Seattle, and several groups dedicated to this goal had displays at the kick-off event. One of these is Feet First, an advocacy group that encourages walking. Feet First's projects include Safe Routes to School, a program that encourages parents to recognize walking as a viable, indeed preferable, way for their children to get to school. Through its Active Communities Program Feet First provides resources to help communities implement immediate changes and make design decisions for future development that lead to increased physical activity as part of normal, everyday life. Other Feet First projects are the Neighborhoods on Foot series of walking maps and the development of urban trail networks featuring way-finding signs and kiosks to provide maps and directions.

For Do-It Yourselfers: Green Building

If work around the home is on your agenda then the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is a site you should check out. The Central Puget Sound chapter of the Guild offers monthly seminars on diverse topics in ecological building. So far this year seminars on weatherization and net-positive energy homes have been presented, with upcoming talks about energy modeling software and heat pumps. You can also download fact sheets and faq's about Green building practices from the website, with guides available for interior and exterior painting, roofing, landscaping and kitchen and bath remodels. If you prefer to pay someone else to do the hard work there's a guide to hiring a professional. Finally, if you need to find one of those professionals the EcoBuilding Guild publishes Green Pages, a comprehensive guide to green building suppliers, contractors, architects and related professionals in the Northwest.

Other worthwhile projects of Sustainable Ballard (a SCALLOPS member), Feet First and the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild are described in these Worldchanging posts:

Bike Racks as Public Art in Ballard

Seattle Park(ing) Day

A Tool for Building Healthier Public Projects and Policies

Healthy Homes for the Elderly on Tribal Land

Photo credit: flickr/Pink Sherbet Photography, Creative Commons license.

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