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C200: Growing Well

2011 March 16
by Greg Nickels

< View of downtown Seattle from Beacon Hill - click to enlarge; photo: Dan Bertolet >

After more than 30 years in local government, 22 as an elected official, this past year has been one of discovery for me. Living in Boston and New York for extended periods helped me learn perspective—and to appreciate Seattle even more.

Teaching at Harvard University last “Spring” gave me a chance to sample Boston’s iconic “T” (and cannoli) and learn how climate, history and universities shape a city. I had never before seen a frozen river.

Representing the US at the UN General Assembly last Fall put me in the heart of Manhattan for almost four months. The scale was deeply unsettling at first but became more comfortable as I learned to enjoy the kinetic pace and remarkable diversity of offerings. (Ol’ Blue Eyes was right about those “little town blues”, they melted away.)

Our City is now home to 608,660 souls (2010 Census). Seattle is growing, and growing up. We are a center for innovation and we are embracing our place as the vibrant heart of a prosperous region.

This is important for a host of reasons: social, economic and environmental (think climate protection); but the challenge is to grow in the right way.

Can we preserve the things that make Seattle special while embracing a diverse, dynamic and low-carbon future?

Yes we can!


Greg Nickels is the former Mayor of Seattle.