Cross-laminated timber offers a multitude of environmental and economic benefits. With the state’s resources and Seattle’s construction needs, the city is the ideal location for mass timber production to take off.
"With vast timber resources and ready for retrofit facilities, the Pacific Northwest has an opportunity to lead a revolution in sustainable building and with the major challenges Seattle is facing around housing affordability and homelessness, our city can and should be at the center of demand for mass timber," writes Conor Bronsdon.
Cross-laminated timber is an ideal alternative to steel and concrete, argues Bronsdon. It performs well as a construction material, can be assembled quickly and easily at construction sites, and requires much less energy for production than steel.
Bronsdon notes that developments at the state and national levels are making cross-laminated timber a more viable option:
The passage of the Timber Innovation Act, officially signed into law in December as part of the national Farm Bill, is a big step for incentivizing the use of CLT. One of the most important provisions of the bill is that it provides annual matching grants to advance innovation in wood construction including prioritizing the use of funds to retrofit sawmills in areas of high unemployment.
He says this is an opportunity to revitalize the flagging economies of rural Washington communities dependent on the timber industry. Washington also last year changed its state building code to allow for mass timber to be used in taller buildings.
Bronsdon says that a partnership between environmental groups and the timber industry would encourage sustainable in-state production. "With responsible and economically incentivized forest management, we can change the calculus of deforestation, encourage replanting and continued harvesting as younger and lower grade trees can be used in mass timber products such as CLT."
Downtown Los Angeles Park Wins National Award
Vista Hermosa Natural Park, designed by the landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA, has won the ASLA 2023 Landmark Award. Completed in 2008, Vista Hermosa was the first public park built in downtown L.A. in over 100 years.
Norman, Oklahoma Eliminates Parking Mandates
The city made a subtle, one-word change that frees up developers to build parking based on actual need and eliminates costly unnecessary parking.
Boston Transit Riders Report Safety Concerns
Almost three-quarters of current and former riders report feeling unsafe while using MBTA services.
When it Comes to Transportation, It’s All About Options
Debunking the notion of the personal automobile as liberator.
Prioritizing Equity in Federal Transit Funding
TransitCenter recommends several transit capital projects deserving of federal transportation dollars.
California Housing Bills Streamline Affordable Housing
A series of current and proposed bills are paving the way for more affordable housing production in the state, where environmental laws are often deployed to delay or block new development.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Mpact: Mobility, Community, Possibility
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.