In Seattle, Washington, developers have brought forth a new community which aims to serve as a model for how all future developments should progress. This newly developed community is known as the High Point Neighborhood. The idea for High Point arose out of a need for the Seattle Housing Authority to redevelop a local projects originally built during World War II. For decades, the surrounding area remained predominantly populated by low-income families, which lead to extreme dilapidation of the area. So in 2003, Seattle embraced this as an opportunity to set the stage for what modern city living could be for Americans on all ends of the economic spectrum. Work began tearing down the existing 716 housing units in order to make way for 1,600 new units. Under the guiding principle of creating a self-sufficient, lasting community, the Housing Authority gathered over $500 million in mixed funding to build Energy Star rated apartments, townhomes, and houses. These homes incorporate sustainable materials like locally sourced, reclaimed lumber, low-VOC paint, tank-less water heaters, and preserved mature trees in their design providing residents with a lower utility bill and carbon footprint. In constructing the streets and sidewalks, permeable concrete and vegetated swales were utilized to allow for natural rainwater drainage.
The Seattle Housing Authority realized that building a self-sufficient community meant designing one where diversity could be encouraged. As a result, the Authority called for High Point to incorporate mixed housing with units available exclusively to low-income families and others priced at market-rate. Doing so insured that High Point could continue as a diverse community with equal opportunity for success regardless of race, disability, or income level.
In the modern world of community development, city planners and developers are searching for innovative ways to solve the issues plaguing the areas of cities nationwide. In Seattle, Washington, one community housing development is proving that through innovation, even the typically forgotten can reap the benefits of healthy, sustainable living. This development is none other than the High Point Neighborhood, a model for what innovation can bring to blighted communities across the country.