Connect Capital: Seattle, WA

Investing in Infrastructure to Build More Resilient Communities

Rising sea levels and increased rainfall are reshaping Seattle’s geography and threatening neighborhoods located in areas susceptible to flooding, including many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color located near the City’s industrial parks and Superfund site. In the coming years, Seattle Public Utilities, a national leader in sustainable and resilient utility practices, is required to invest more than $100 million to address flooding and water quality. The Connect Capital team is working to ensure that the investments create equitable community benefits, prevent and lessen the impact of climate change on residents at risk of displacement, and create solutions that can be applied in other areas facing similar challenges. Importantly, the Connect Capital team includes staff from Seattle Public Utilities and the City of Seattle, as well as community members and members of the philanthropic community—creating a valuable partnership opportunity that is rarely available in community development work.

GOAL

In addition to better buffering low-income neighborhoods and communities of color from flooding and other threats related to a changing climate, the Seattle Connect Capital team seeks to develop a model approach to climate adaptation that leverages utility water investments alongside land use management approaches to generate broader equity-based public health and environmental improvements.

TEAM

The Seattle Connect Capital travel team consists of staff from Seattle Public Utilities, the city’s offices of economic development and sustainability, a community foundation, and a community organization. The larger home team includes representation from other city departments and levels of government, community residents, and funders and anchor institutions.

Transforming investment in communities

The Center for Community Investment at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation.

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