Sustainable Seattle
Blog post #1
November 18, 2014

Setting the Scene for 2015

Paul Inghram, AICP; and Deborah Munkberg, AICP Co-chairs, Local Host Committee;
Ivan Miller, AICP; Chapter President

Want to see 5,000 of your fellow planners under one roof? Want to see the future of planning coming over the horizon? Want to see what’s happening in smart, sustainable cities — and what’s rolling out across the country?

See you in Seattle!

APA’s National Planning Conference is the biggest event of the year for people who care about communities. If that’s you, start packing your bags now, because you won’t want to miss a minute of it. This year’s call for proposals brought in 830 submissions, which set the bar high for quality sessions. New this year: a Masters Series of sessions for experienced planners, a Tech Zone at the Planning Expo and, back by popular demand, a mixer for first-time conference goers. Whether this is your first conference or you've been to many, you’re sure to find more events you’ll want to attend than you could ever fit into your schedule. And you’ll find something more.


Granted, those of us on the Local Host Committee may be a little biased. But we can’t help thinking that Seattle is a city every planner needs to experience, up close, in person, and more than once. To get a feel for the city, start with this video from Visit Seattle.

Gems of the Emerald City

For planners, Seattle is a city with endless avenues to explore. The theme of this year’s conference is Sustainable Seattle, so let’s start there. Take a walk in the park — Green Lake has a newly reconstructed 2.8-mile path — or stroll through Belltown, with "green streets" that double as parkland. Or experience a different shade of green at Bullitt Center, the world’s greenest commercial building.

Enjoy getting to know neighborhoods? Go back to Seattle’s roots in Pioneer Square, the city’s most historic neighborhood, and the International District, once known as Chinatown. Then cross the floating bridges of Lake Washington and see what’s happening in Bellevue, with its high-tech city center and upscale shopping.

Looking for an artistic experience? Soak in the sights at Olympic Sculpture Park, a short walk on the waterfront from the convention center. Is economic development on your agenda? Head over to the Innovation Districts of South Lake Union, tour Starbucks’ headquarters, or watch the ships and harbor seals come in at the Ballard Locks.  Or, get on the water at the Center for Wooden Boat or the West Seattle Water Taxi.

When you’re ready for a break, take your pick of Seattle homebrews in Fremont, SoDo or Georgetown. As you’d expect in Starbucks’ hometown, you’ll come across a cafe at every turn if you need a different type of boost. The locavore movement started on the Pacific coast, and many Seattle restaurants feature regional fare. For sustenance with a side of sustainability, check out the Bastille Café & Bar or Ravish, where rooftop gardens take “sourced locally” to a new level.

No visit to Seattle would be complete without spending some time at Pike Place Market. While you’re there, catch the famous fish-throwers of Pike Place Fish Company. And how could you miss the Space Needle at Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World’s Fair?

So much to do …

If you’re wondering how you could possibly see half of those sights, APA has you covered. Sign up for the orientation tour, take your pick of mobile workshops, and you’ll get a true flavor of a real planner’s city. For more ideas, check out these Local Links.

Of course, everyone who lives in Seattle has a set of special places to call out. And everyone who visits will come away with favorite memories. We'll show you ours in the APA Washington Planners Guide, which will come with your registration materials.  And, in future blog posts, you'll learn about our dominant and emerging sports teams.  Our musical history.   Our waterfront redevelopment and Bertha – the slow-moving "deep bore" tunnel.

What will your favorite memories be? Come to the Emerald City and find out for yourself.