Subthemes from Thursday’s Discussion

In order to get a better handle on the list of proposed study ideas generated among the group, we tried to represent each of them below as a key “nugget” of a theme or concept. Once the over-arching Project Definition (our theme for the year) is accepted, these subthemes may help guide our group in the choice of specific case studies.

Proposed Next Steps

1) Arrive at consensus around the Project Definition. (Mark and Julia to moderate an electronic dialogue through 11/21)

2) Develop a list of case study ideas with proposed trip destinations that support the case study development. (“Trip” team to solicit input from the broader group and bring a list of ideas to the 11/29 meeting for discussion.)

Case Study Subthemes

1) Influence the” decision makers” in real estate

2) Crises creates the need for policy changes. People or regions in crisis are often open to radical change that may improve their future prosperity.

3) Focus on local economic tools and solutions because the national scale is so political that moving the needle locally is the best way to catalyze change.

4) There is value in local business and sense of place; how do we quantify that value and use it to help local businesses compete more evenly with national credit tenants for space?

5) Focus on big ideas that are likely to happen due to existing “tailwinds”.  For instance infrastructure changes towards thermal districts may be easier in Seattle because Seattle Steam is already doing it.

6) Re-knit the local fabric of land use in areas that are broken or torn, such as Pioneer Square’s alleyways, in order to attract and serve population growth within the city versus sprawl.

7) Provide a private valuation and financing methodology for public amenities.

8) Integrate the potential of communications technology in telling the story and advancing the positive impact of sustainability initiatives.

9) The ability of project leaders to address the needs of stakeholders is a fundamental driver for project success.

10) Land use and infrastructure are the key drivers for sustainability, more so than buildings.

11) Analyze the impacts of government subsidies vs. spending as they impact GDP and the local economy.

12) Selecting multiple study projects allows our team to leverage the interests and expertise of its individual members, while providing the perspectives and synthesis of the group as a whole.

13) Infrastructure inertia vs. infrastructure innovation.  Instant gratification vs. dividends on investments.

14) How do we break down big regional challenges like transit?  Local control vs. regional needs.  Seems extremely difficult to get independent players on the same page.

15) Bringing resource issues like water, energy, waste, mobility to a local scale and examining project-level treatments of these resources and the barriers/incentives that impact them.

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One Response to Subthemes from Thursday’s Discussion

  1. aphurd says:

    Some reactions:
    re. case studies: can be useful, but such a limited data set. I hate to infer too much from any one case study.

    re. the national level: I agree that many problems are more politically tractable at the local level– but we have so many systemic challenges in how resources are allocated (e.g. transportation spending), regulated (e.g. utilities) and priced (e.g. water and energy) at the national level, that it seems almost impossible to make progress without addressing these underlying issues. I’m not so bold as to suggest that we are going to turn Washington around– but I do think we could move the needle just a little on the public discourse to provide more understanding and support of where we need to go as a country. Namely, our energy future and our economic future are one and the same. I hope they are not both finite.

    re. alleyways: why focus just on Pioneer Square? It’s even more of a challenge in our large urban commercial buildings that need a “service” side. I’d be more interested in solving the big-block-big-building alleyway challenge, since this is the kind of development that will increasingly fill our cities. We struggle with this on our projects right now.

    re. item 10– I would change “more so” to “at least as much”

    Finally, I’m not totally clear on what you meant by items 11 and 13. Can you add more to those?

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