Office of Planning and Budgeting

The Governor released operating and capital budgets yesterday morning. Though the UW fared well in the capital budget, we believe the operating budget, as currently proposed, presents challenges. Please note that the Governor’s budgets will be taken up by the Legislature in January; we are many months away from a final legislative compromise. As usual, we will be sending out budget briefing documents throughout legislative session to keep you updated.

For an analysis and summary of the operating and capital budgets, please review the OPB brief.

We have updated the OPB brief we posted on February 27th, to reflect additional information regarding the employee health insurance related agency reductions. Both the House and Senate budget would decrease agency contributions for employee health benefits. The House budget cuts state funding by $7.6 million and the Senate budget cuts state funding by $4.4 million. However, both of these reductions are offset by lower per employee spending “limits” on benefits. The House budget would reduce monthly employer funding to $658 per eligible employee. The Senate budget would reduce monthly employer funding to $703 per eligible employee.

Leadership in both the House and Senate fiscal committees released supplemental operating and capital budgets this week, proposing technical corrections and appropriation changes to the current 2013-15 biennial budgets (primarily applicable to FY15). Please see the full OPB brief for information on each proposal.

As a reminder, both budgets will be amended in respective committees, and possibly on each chamber floor, before negotiations begin towards a compromise budget.

 

The University of Washington (UW) plans to convert a small section of the UDistrict into a “startup hub” that will help connect UW research activity with the entrepreneurial talent who can help commercialize it. The effort will begin with just one floor of Condon Hall – the old law school, which currently houses departments displaced by other campus construction – but will expand if there is demand. The ground floor will be transformed into an open meeting area, or “mixing chamber,” where University-based entrepreneurs can connect and collaborate with the startup community, including startups that don’t necessarily have a connection to the UW. The third floor may eventually be converted into space for startups. So far, TechStars, Founder’s Co-op, and UP Global (formerly Startup Weekend) are considering taking space on the second floor starting next July.

The Office of Planning & Budgeting and the Office of the University Architect are working on this and other UDistrict planning efforts. To read more about this project, see the article by GeekWire. For more information about UDistrict planning as a whole, see the recent Seattle Times article and visit the U District Livability Partnership website.

My name is Julia Martinelli and I am the Student Assistant for the Office of the University Architect within the Office of Planning and Budgeting. I am currently a Sophomore at the University of Washington and I am planning on majoring in Architecture with a minor in Urban Ecological Design and Italian. Within my position I will be writing about events, updates, and news regarding the planning and architecture.

Currently, the University District is preparing to undergo multiple changes in the upcoming years. In an effort to guide these changes, a group of residents, businesses, social service providers, the U District Chamber, City of Seattle, and University of Washington has come together to create The University District Livability Partnership. The University District Livability Partnership (UDLP) is a four-year strategic initiative that is working towards transforming the University District into a sustainable, walkable community. The vision of the UDLP for the University District is to have a vibrant and innovative district of entrepreneurs, major employers, talented workers, and diverse residents. The collaboration of partnerships in the UDLP are preparing to help the University District transition and grow as it experiences many changes in the upcoming years, especially with the emergence of the light rail station on NE 43rd St. and Brooklyn Ave.

Within the UDLP there are four components, which include the Commercial Revitalization Strategic Plan, an Urban Design Framework, U District Next: A Community Conversation and Long-Term Leadership & Partnerships, each of which focuses on different aspects and strategies to reach the final desired goal for the U District. Additional information regarding the different components of the UDLP may be found here.

The UDLP Strategic Plan was formally released on January 31, 2013, at the third and final U District Next: A Community Conversation event. In order to preserve the unique and historical aspects of the University District as well as develop new enhancements that will enrich the already vibrant community, the Strategic Plan has developed five initiatives. The initiatives include organization, economics, marketing, clean & safe, and urban design, each of which has its own specific set of goals and strategies. The goal of the organization initiative is to create long-term leadership capacity and partnerships of effective and diverse voices. Whereas, the economic initiative is striving to create an attractive neighborhood for various startups, large companies, and businesses where they can both flourish and contribute to the community. The marketing initiative wants to both appeal to the current community of the U District as well as reach out and draw in new residents, investors and businesses by advertising the best elements of the neighborhood. The clean & safe initiative wants to develop a safe and clean environment that contains resources that will provide support to everyone. And lastly, the goal of the urban design initiative is to design and create a built environment that fits and reflects the culture of the University District community. All of these initiatives create a group of organized tasks that will contribute to The Strategic Plan’s strategic vision for the future University District. If you would like to read the Strategic Plan, visit the UDLP website found here. If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas about the future of the U District, please go here.

Staff from OPB in partnership with staff from Regional and Community Relations are participating in a community-wide effort known as the University District Livability Partnership (UDLP) – a four-year strategic initiative to encourage investment for a vibrant, walkable University District Community. The UDLP involves University District residents, business, social service providers, congregations, the Greater University Chamber of Commerce, University of Washington and City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, Department of Planning & Development, Police Department and Department of Neighborhoods. Additional information regarding the UDLP may be found here.

The partnership includes four companion projects: a commercial revitalization plan, urban design framework, community conversations, and long-term leadership. U District Next: A Community Conversation is a series of events designed to bring local and national voices to the U District to provide perspectives of experiences that may be relevant to the future possibilities in the U District. The discussions are structured such that participants will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas. The first event is to take place on October 11th at 5:30 PM. The event is a walk and talk tour of the University District focused on the pedestrain experience. For additional information, please go here. To learn about future events or to participate through the web visit UDNext.com.

New OPB Brief on University of Washington Seattle Campus Planning Initiatives.

The Office of Planning and Budgeting (OPB) coordinates and oversees physical campus planning initiatives for the UW’s campuses. OPB is currently engaging partners and experts across the Seattle campus in several new planning initiatives, which are highlighted in this brief. The focus ranges significantly, but current initiatives include projecting future needs (e.g. precinct planning), systems planning (e.g. way finding and signage), master plans for sub-areas and features (e.g. Pend Oreille entrance and North Campus housing), campus-wide plans (e.g. Campus Master Plan), as well as participating in local community planning (e.g. University District planning).

While the House and Senate have yet to finish sine die today, both capital and operating budgets are close to final.

The UW’s operating budget cut is $207 million over the biennium. UW’s cuts are comprised of “higher education reductions” and a mandatory 3 percent, general fund state compensation reduction ($12 million per year). Compensation reductions, while mandatory, are not imposed on individual salaries at the colleges and universities but rather, are required compensation savings targets that the University must meet over each fiscal year.

The final operating budget includes a 16 percent resident undergraduate tuition rate cap but provisions from E2SHB 1795 (tuition setting authority bill) are included. The UW Regents will meet June 9, 2011 to discuss tuition setting authority.

The capital budget provides $26.3 million in state bonds for projects like Odegaard Undergraduate Learning Center and minor capital repairs. Additionally, a separate capital budget bill appropriates $53.6 million in UW Building Fees for preventative maintenance and building repairs as well as minor capital repairs.

Please review the OPB’s conference budget brief which assumes that the operating and capital budgets are signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate in their current forms. We will notify campus of any major amendments once the Governor has reviewed the operating and capital budgets.

In 43 years, the world’s population is expected to double.  In developing countries the urban population is expected to double between 2000 and 2030.  The urban land cover will double in 19 years and the built-up area of major cities in the developing world will triple.  At least, this is according to a new report, “Making Room for a Planet of Cities,” that was published by The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy last month.

For the past five years, a team of researchers looked at GIS-based maps, satellite images, and historical maps to create a comprehensive data set to look at five key attributes of urbanism – urban land cover, density as measured by population in relation to built-up areas, centrality (distance from city center), fragmentation (the amount of open space within cities), and compactness. The summary from all of the historical research: “average densities declined as population and wealth grew, not just in the U.S. as part of the familiar pattern of sprawl but worldwide.”

Looking to the future, the research conducted by this report suggests that planners and policy makers should look at growth management within the context of the following: realistic projections of urban land needs, selective protection of open space, generous metropolitan limits, and infrastructure to support mass transportation.

As a planner at the University of Washington, this emphasizes the importance of the University’s location in an urban center.  Assuming that increased urbanization will continue, as suggested in the report, the University District area is on track for increased density.  This makes the report timely in its reinforcement of the growing importance of planning for the future using realistic projections, protection of open space, and an emphasis on infrastructure prior to significant urban growth.

Welcome to two new topics on OPBlog: Campus Planning and Capital Resources as they relate to a unified approach to capital planning. We will begin posting on topics related to capital resources, capital budgets, campus planning, and national trends in those areas.  This first post looks at planning efforts in Portland and the role Universities play in urban planning.

A 2009 report by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy titled “Town-Gown Collaboration in Land Use and Development”   reinforces ongoing research that suggests over the past 20 years universities play a much broader role in the economic, social, and physical development in their neighborhoods.  As universities continue to lead the urban planning process with their surrounding communities, the concept of EcoDistricts – planning for sustainability at a district level – may play an important role in the overall discussion of how a community develops.  In fact, in Portland, one of the pilot EcoDistricts is in partnership with Portland State University (PSU). 

What are EcoDistricts? EcoDistricts are a comprehensive strategy developed by the Portland Sustainability Institute to accelerate sustainable neighborhood development. Through partnerships with the region, institutions, and businesses, Portland created the Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI).  The institute “…brings together business, higher education, nonprofit and municipal leaders to drive a set of next generation urban sustainability initiatives for the Portland metro region.”  In essence, it is a not-for-profit that supports the coordination of multiple sustainability efforts to maximize outcomes.  It supports the planning of community initiatives at a district level rather than individual initiatives in hope that the district level planning will have a more significant impact.   According to Making EcoDistricts, a publication published by PoSI, sustainability is achieved over time.  “It’s not the product of a program, project, or initiative, though all these things are important and help.” Portland, Oregon, has embarked on a path of sustainability through district-level planning not unlike campus planning. Although urban sustainability is not new, the approach Portland is taking is being explored as a model for other cities and universities.