Emerald City Explorer

"The sun will rise with or without you, make everyday count because you're not promised tomorrow." - Stanley Holland
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You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
C.S. Lewis

Perfect fall day for a bike ride around Seattle. Rode through the city’s nearest “beach town,” bustling port, and rapidly changing urban core (so much construction, especially on the waterfront). Seattle’s diverse built and natural environment made for a very enjoyable ride.

Super thankful for the interconnected dedicated bike lanes most of the way. It made the trip feel safe and welcoming.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Nelson Mandela
Do one thing every day that scares you.
 Eleanor Roosevelt
Not houses finely roofed or the stones of walls well builded, nay nor canals and dockyards make the city, but men [sic] able to use their opportunity [emphasis added].
Alcaeus of Mytilene

Like many of Seattle’s urban neighborhoods the University District is undergoing a remarkable transformation. Thanks to its excellent regional connections, easy access to the future light rail system, and a large concentration of small shops and businesses, it’s poised to become Seattle’s next “hot neighborhood.”

The main challenge moving forward however seems to be very similar to challenges other urban neighborhoods are facing.

How to grow sustainably while preserving diversity in culture, income, and living options?

The debate about whether the district should remain geared solely towards students or focused on supporting startups and other small businesses has also become a topic for discussion lately as well.

As a former student of the University of Washington and now a post-grad resident living in the U-District, I think cultivating an environment for small businesses will provide additional opportunities for students and create paths for the University to commercialize more of its research. Wish I had a crystal ball to see how this will all pan out but eager to watch these two different visions slowly unfold.

Seattle has a long history of competing visions melding together to create something entirely new. Heck, depending on who you ask, South Lake Union, a.k.a. ground zero for Amazon’s rapid expansion, is version 3.0 of the neighborhood. It’s been imagined as a number of things in the past including a grand park, biotech hub, and now in its most recent iteration, a magnet for technology companies. Very curious to see how the U-District evolves moving forward.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.
 -Charles M. Schulz
The University of Washington is getting serious about making the University District Seattle’s next tech hub. This month its opening up Startup Hall, a 20,000 square-foot space for entrepreneurs inside of Condon Hall – the university’s old law school building located on the western edge of campus. Excitement has already begun to build around the idea of the University District becoming Seattle’s next innovation hub. Three of Seattle’s startup incubators (TechStars, Founders Co-Op, and UpGlobal) have already signed up as anchor tenants.
With many of Seattle’s other urban neighborhoods such as Pioneer Square, Downtown, and the newly minted South Lake Union (SLU) becoming too pricey for new companies, UW’s startup Hall is an attractive option for budding entrepreneurs. Following in the footsteps of other great tech companies who got their start in garage like settings, Startup Hall will provide space for scrappy startups just coming online. Many are hoping the partnership will create new opportunities for students at the university and fuel new economic opportunities for the region.
This effort doesn’t exist in a vacuum however and is a part of a larger vision being championed by the city to rezone the University and attract more business diversity. UW’s push to cultivate a stronger culture of innovation and create opportunities for the commercialization of new ideas could be the spark needed to start Seattle’s next innovation district.
Further Reading on the Subject
U-District Urban Planning: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cityplanning/completeprojectslist/universitydistrict/whatwhy/default.htm
U-District Density Push: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022357441_udistrictfuturexml.html
Startup Hall Launch: http://www.geekwire.com/2014/video-inside-university-washingtons-new-startup-hall/

U-District Tech Hub: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/brierdudley/2014/09/17/with-startup-hall-u-district-aims-to-be-new-tech-hub/

The University of Washington is getting serious about making the University District Seattle’s next tech hub. This month its opening up Startup Hall, a 20,000 square-foot space for entrepreneurs inside of Condon Hall – the university’s old law school building located on the western edge of campus. Excitement has already begun to build around the idea of the University District becoming Seattle’s next innovation hub. Three of Seattle’s startup incubators (TechStars, Founders Co-Op, and UpGlobal) have already signed up as anchor tenants.

With many of Seattle’s other urban neighborhoods such as Pioneer Square, Downtown, and the newly minted South Lake Union (SLU) becoming too pricey for new companies, UW’s startup Hall is an attractive option for budding entrepreneurs. Following in the footsteps of other great tech companies who got their start in garage like settings, Startup Hall will provide space for scrappy startups just coming online. Many are hoping the partnership will create new opportunities for students at the university and fuel new economic opportunities for the region.

This effort doesn’t exist in a vacuum however and is a part of a larger vision being championed by the city to rezone the University and attract more business diversity. UW’s push to cultivate a stronger culture of innovation and create opportunities for the commercialization of new ideas could be the spark needed to start Seattle’s next innovation district.

Further Reading on the Subject

U-District Urban Planning: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cityplanning/completeprojectslist/universitydistrict/whatwhy/default.htm

U-District Density Push: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022357441_udistrictfuturexml.html

Startup Hall Launch: http://www.geekwire.com/2014/video-inside-university-washingtons-new-startup-hall/

U-District Tech Hub: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/brierdudley/2014/09/17/with-startup-hall-u-district-aims-to-be-new-tech-hub/

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect,
Anais Nin
Every child is an artist. The challenge is to remain an artist after you grow up.
Pablo Picasso

Back in Seattle after an extended weekend in San Francisco with my fellow IDF Alumni. Thumbing through my notes and reflecting on how lessons shared can be applied to the Seattle area. Super thankful to IDF for the opportunity to participate and speakers for sharing their expertise.

Experiencing the Bay’s microclimates. Sweating it out in Orinda discussing BART, transit, development policy, and general Bay Area life. #IDFSF (at Orinda)

One of the more powerful points I heard about land use in the Bay Area during my IDF San Francisco trip so far. “San Francisco represents 12% of the Bay population,” yet the housing shortage debate is largely focused on SF proper. Time to think about larger regional solutions to housing?

It’s also a bit antiquated but what about empowering employers to create housing, similar to the upcoming “Facebook apartment:” http://bit.ly/1m193is. It could be a powerful tool for place making and creating new “cool spots.”

Strolled by Twitter HQ this afternoon. Sleek looking building. For some reason I was expecting a live Twitter “stock ticker” for some reason. #IDFSF #SocialMedia #SFTech