Oct 1, 2008


1990: The Global Tomorrow Coalition organized a workshop in Seattle, in preparation for the Earth Summit which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It was the challenge of integrating economic, environmental, and social values, and the opportunity to define new measurements of progress, that inspired Seattle citizens to create the civic movement that led to the founding of Sustainable Seattle.

1992: Sustainable Seattle’s founders convene a panel of over 150 civic leaders -- environmental groups, city and county government representatives, labor, the religious community, business leaders, educators, students, and social activists -- which developed the first set of draft indicators.

1993: The Sustainable Seattle 1993 Indicators of Sustainable Community – A Report to Citizens on Long-Term Trends in our Community is published. The report includes 20 indicators.

1993-95: The 1993 report is presented to the U.S. President’s Council on Sustainable Development, the Global Forum in Manchester, England, the European Commission, international forums from Hungary to Argentina, and many U.S. cities. Sustainable Seattle volunteers spend two years researching the next set of 20 indicators as well as updating the first group.

1995: Sustainable Seattle’s 1995 Indicators of Sustainable Community is published. It includes 40 key indicators.

1996: Sustainable Seattle is recognized by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements with an “Excellence in Indicators Best Performance” by the Community Sector, awarded at the Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Sustainable Seattle receives the Puget Sound Regional Council Vision 2020 Award

1997: Sustainable Seattle incorporates in Washington as a Civic Collaboration for Sustainability

1998 Sustainable Seattle’s third status report on its 40 Indicators of Sustainable Community is published. It is a mixed report card. Some key indicators show improving trends, e.g., air quality and volunteer involvement in schools. Some trends are flat, such as juvenile crime and housing affordability. Other measures of the social, economic and environmental health of the region are trending down, e.g., generation of waste and children living in poverty.

2001: The Sustainable Community Outstanding Leadership Awards (SCOLAs) are born and Sustainable Seattle recognizes its first set of award winners in the Business, Government, Social Justice and Built Environment categories.

2002: Sustainable Seattle is awarded a four-year Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant to measure quality of life at the neighborhood scale. To do this, Sustainable Seattle works with community groups to empower residents to identify issues of concern in their neighborhoods, collect data around these issues, and convey priorities to the city government (around municipal service delivery) for action-oriented solutions. Through the use of tools and technology, this project aims to enable citizens to be better informed and empowered to improve their neighborhoods and communities. The Second SCOLAs are awarded. Sustainable Seattle develops an educational program that includes Sustainability Workshops and mini-grants for middle- and high-school students

2004: The Third SCOLAs are awarded at a ceremony at the University of Washington. At the conclusion of its first year under the Sloan Grant, Sustainable Seattle has surveyed 4 neighborhoods to collect quality of life information and has started the development of a neighborhood-based website that includes a wide range of sustainability indicators.