Livable City Year

2018–2019 Projects

The following projects are part of the Livable City Year partnership between UW and the City of Bellevue  during the 2018–2019 academic year. This list will be updated as more projects are confirmed.

The projects are provided below under the following headings:

Economic Development

EC-1: Trail Oriented Development

Division | Department: Planning | Community Development
City Project Lead: Emil King
Faculty: Rachel Berney and Evan Carver
UW Department: Community, Environment and Planning
Quarter: Fall 2018

With the Eastside Rail Corridor providing a regional, north-south, non-motorized connection through the city; the Mountains to Sound Greenway running east-west; the completion of the 520 Trail; and the I-90 Trail, along with other trail connections throughout the city, there is great opportunity to better define the role of adjacent development in activating these trails and making them true regional assets. The city is looking for best practices for trail-oriented development and preparation of placemaking guidelines.

EC-2: Public and Private Small Business Incubator Analysis for Startup 425

Division | Department:Cultural and Economic Vitality | Community Development
City Project Lead: Jesse Canedo
Faculty: Michael Ervick
UW Department: UW Bothell School of Business
Quarter: Fall 2018

Purpose: Over the last two years, Bellevue and its neighbors have supported small businesses and entrepreneurs via Startup 425, a program that strives to provide timely, value-adding services to local startups. The program currently functions as an informal partnership between five distinct municipal entities. These cities have expressed a desire to evolve the program into an independent, self-sustaining program. To do that, staff requires extensive research on best practices, operating models, and service gaps currently in the local market.

Proposed Solution: A Livable City Year project can support Startup 425’s evolution by providing the research capacity for a larger strategic planning effort. LCY would undertake a ten-week project to analyze both public and private small business incubator models across the US. The research will be shared with a separate business advisory committee to provide the cities with a 360-degree view of the field. The committee will be made up of investors, entrepreneurs, mentors, and community groups that can pair the UW’s findings with their understanding of the local ecosystem to recommend a way forward for Startup 425.

Scope and Deliverables: The project will deliver a written report that summarizes best practices on topics such as funding, management structure, service offerings, and engagement with private investors. Those findings will identify options that best fit into the context of Washington State broadly, and the Eastside specifically. The body of work will be shared with, and integrated into, the committee’s recommendations. The exact items to be researched will be developed jointly by the committee and the LCY leads.

Transportation and Mobility


High Quality Built and Natural Environment

BNE-7: Neighborhood Profiles

Division | Department: Planning | Community Development
City Project Lead: Doug McIntyre
Faculty: India Ornelas
UW Department: Health Services
Quarter: Fall 2018

Bellevue’s 16 neighborhood areas are characterized by diverse demographics and built and natural features. The city is initiating a neighborhood planning program that will rely on current and relevant data to illustrate the unique character of each neighborhood area and answer important questions. What features are important to improve or enhance? What trends indicate growing needs or opportunities? How can information be shared with the public in a way that is transparent, objective, and easy to understand? This project will identify the range of available data sources; conduct interviews of city staff and citizens as needed; consider strategies for communication such as use of infographics and formatting techniques to highlight key information; compile and organize data; and prepare neighborhood profiles. Work products will include neighborhood profiles and documentation of the work process so that it can be replicated in the future.

BNE-8: Best Practices for Neighborhood Planning

Division | Department: Planning | Community Development
City Project Lead: Terry Cullen
Faculty: Rachel Berney and Evan Carver
UW Department: Community, Environment and Planning
Quarter: Fall 2018

Residents in Bellevue have identified a variety of issues as important to their neighborhood. Throughout the city, commonly mentioned priority issues include traffic congestion, affordable housing, education, public safety, tree canopy, community character and others. Perspectives on these issues may vary depending on the neighborhood location, length of residency in Bellevue, growth and development experienced in the neighborhood, and other factors. For example, an interest in tree canopy may be expressed as a broad interest in environmental sustainability; localized interest in inventory, preservation, and planting programs; concern over view preservation and other perspectives. This project will consider information that has already been gathered about neighborhood priority issues, conduct interviews with city staff and citizens to better understand these issues, research best practices and develop a handbook of recommended strategies for addressing priority issues to be used in the city’s neighborhood planning program.

BNE-9: Civic Center Vision Development

Division | Department: Planning | Community Development
City Project Lead: Emil King
Faculty: Branden Born
UW Department: Urban Design and Planning
Quarters: Winter and Spring 2019

The Bellevue Comprehensive Plan identifies a Civic Center District surrounding Bellevue City Hall. This Civic Center vision would integrate City Hall, the “Metro property” adjacent to City Hall, Meydenbauer Convention Center (and its expansion), the existing Transit Center, and the future light rail station. It would interface with the Grand Connection (Meydenbauer Bay to Eastside Rail Corridor). Develop the vision and early master plan development, including research, outreach, community and stakeholder engagement, options, and extents.

This project would ideally be undertaken in the Winter and/or Spring quarters.

BNE-10: Smart Buildings

Division | Department: Facility Services | Civic Services
City Project Lead: Emma Johnson
Faculty: Rachel Berney and Evan Carver
UW Department: Community, Environment and Planning
Quarter: Fall 2018

Does data make a Smart Building? Understanding your energy and water performance through a benchmarked “score” (e.g., a rating that compares against your peers such as the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey or EPA Portfolio Manager) is often touted as the first step to energy management. However, every building operator says that their building is unique. This project would assess the value of presenting building managers with a localized energy score — such as one that compares them specifically to other buildings in Bellevue, Seattle or the eastside — vs. a nationwide comparison that is normalized. In addition, the project would make recommendations how to leverage the new Automated Meter Infrastructure for water consumption to create metrics about water consumption.

BNE-11: Tinkerers’ Laboratory Space

Division | Department: Planning | Community Development
City Project Lead: Nicholas Matz
Faculty: Michael Ervick
UW Department: UW Bothell School of Business
Quarter: Fall 2018

With Bellevue’s growth, the city’s Light Industrial (LI) zoning category is a district in search of a purpose. There are startups out there that need a laboratory for physical tinkering, a playroom to make things from applied technology—but can’t afford BelRed lease rates. 3D printing firms are an example. They need to have a messy place, something not offered with the city’s current menu of shared work concepts. This project would flesh out a tinkerer’s lab space for venture startup groups that need to get messy, that need open work space in the LI previously known for indoor manufacturing. It would organize startups that can’t be in neat BelRed, identify a purpose for template LI buildings, and bring together these groups into a unique workplace niche. The project would organize these anarchic firms and individuals into a shared collective space, and the city could leverage their work and community towards its own growing needs (3D printing, for example).

BNE-12: Health Impact Assessment in the BelRed Neighborhood

Division | Department: Planning | Community Development
City Project Lead: Emil King
Faculty: Andrew Dannenberg
UW Department: Urban Design and Planning
Quarter: Spring 2019

With new transit-oriented development beginning to occur around forthcoming East Link light rail stations (opening in 2023), the City is looking to conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the BelRed Subarea Plan to determine how policies in the Plan could be updated to improve health outcomes in these emerging neighborhoods.

BNE-13: Restoration Planning for Bellevue Botanical Garden Wetlands

Division | Department: Parks | Parks and Community Services
City Project Lead: Nancy Kartes
Faculty: Iain Robertson
UW Department: Landscape Architecture
Quarter: Fall 2018

Bellevue Botanical Garden (BBG) is a place of recreation, restoration, and education that is widely used by Bellevue citizens. It is also an increasingly important destination for visitors to the city.  Students in a UW landscape architecture planting design seminar will develop planting plans for an undeveloped, but prominently located, portion of BBG. Their planting designs will explore ecologically appropriate restoration techniques for a highly degraded wetland area and will enhance BBG by serving as an experientially pleasing and educationally valuable garden exhibit.

Bellevue: Great Places Where You Want to Be

GP-1: Marketing of Parks and Community Services Programs

Division | Department: Administration | Parks and Community Services
City Project Lead:Colin Walker
Faculty: Michael Ervick
UW Department: UW Bothell School of Business
Quarter: Fall 2018

In March 2018, Parks and Community Services implemented a new recreation program registration system which allows customers to view and register for programs and is accessible on all mobile devices. With this new system, along with other systems in place, the city is looking to develop customizable program brochures to better serve our online customers.

GP-3: Customized Walk/Mobility Score

Division | Department: Planning | Community Development
City Project Lead: Nicholas Matz
Faculty: Rachel Berney and Evan Carver
UW Department: Community, Environment and Planning
Quarter: Fall 2018

Applications such as Walk Score assess a community’s existing connectivity and mobility. An iterative, customized score for each neighborhood would enable the city’s neighborhood planning group to base a connectivity score on more fine-grained data. This would be gathered into a database and then uniquely applied to the city’s GIS application through this effort, so that the score could be used in a predictive fashion. For example, how would adding sidewalks in a certain area, or supporting connectivity to shopping and education through infrastructure increase the score?

GP-4: Food Truck Program

Division | Department: ROW/Permit Inspection | Transportation
City Project Lead: Ben Wright
Faculty: Tania M. Busch Isaksen
UW Department: Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
Quarters: Winter and Spring 2019

Food trucks have become increasingly popular in recent years and can be complicated from a regulatory standpoint (vehicles and food services establishments). The city is interested in evaluating and developing citywide food truck best practices. This program would include any nuanced differences between centers (Downtown, Crossroads, Factoria) as well as special events. Development of best practices for how to frame the regulatory aspects, such as temporary merchants, permanent mobile locations or semi-frequent locations. Best practices would include practices for obtaining business licenses, permitting, health department requirements, and evaluation of potential costs to both vendors and the city.

Achieving Human Potential

HP-1: Safe Parking Lots

Division | Department: Land Use | Development Services
City Project Lead: Toni Pratt
Faculty: Molly Schachter and Alex Stonehill
UW Department: Communication Leadership
Quarter: Winter 2019

Safe parking programs help address the unique needs of vehicle residents, one prominent segment of the unhoused population using their vehicle as a place of personal refuge and shelter. Vehicle residents make up a significant portion of King County’s total unsheltered population — 42% in 2017. These programs use existing public or privately-owned parking infrastructure to provide vehicle residents with a safe, reliable, and legal place to park.

Safe parking programs exist in several locations on the Eastside, however there appear to be gaps in providing services to men, families and people with pets. The benefits of community and relationships can be life-changing and critical in the path to stable housing. The city is interested in evaluation of current resources and providers, research of best practices for “safe-parking lots,” outreach to faith communities, and outreach to the community to determine whether a safe-parking lot approach could address needs for both shelter and safe and livable community.

HP-2: Implicit Bias in Criminal Prosecution

Division | Department: Prosecution | City Attorney’s Office
City Project Lead: Steve Penner
Faculty: TBD
UW Department: Evans School of Public Policy and Governance
Quarter: Winter and Spring 2019

The goal of criminal prosecution is to seek justice, but that goal is undermined if decisions regarding charging, plea offers, and sentencing are impacted by implicit bias against a defendant’s race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or other demographic markers.

This project would seek to:

  • Gather data from the City Attorney’s Office and its criminal justice partners (e.g., Bellevue Police Department, King County District Court) to identify potential implicit bias in the prosecution of criminal cases in Bellevue;
  • Formulate recommendations for addressing currently identified evidence of implicit bias and for avoiding further implicit bias in the future including but not limited to guidelines and training for prosecution attorneys and staff;
  • As a regional leader, share findings and solutions with other criminal justice agencies in the area to increase the impact of our efforts to combat implicit bias in criminal prosecution.

High Performance Government

HPG-1: Community Engagement Strategy for Residents of Multi-Family Housing

Division | Department: Neighborhood Services | Community Development
City Project Lead: Mike McCormick-Huentelman
Faculty: Richard Conlin
UW Department: Community, Environment and Planning
Quarter: Spring 2019

Bellevue’s multi-family neighborhoods have grown in recent years with development in the Downtown and BelRed. Multi-family residential environments are typically harder to reach through traditional city communication programs. The city is interested in research that will evaluate and assess best practices in outreach to those multi-family communities. Work includes development of new strategies, implementing pilot programs and provide recommendations to better inform and engage Bellevue’s multi-family communities. Consideration of equity, inclusion and access are expected to play a significant part in the practices developed.

HPG-3: Mobile Mini City Hall

Division | Department: Neighborhood Services | Community Development
City Project Lead: Mike McCormick-Huentelman
Faculty: Rachel Berney and Evan Carver
UW Department: Community, Environment and Planning
Quarter: Fall 2018

To ensure residents have access to services and information, Bellevue has operated “Mini City Hall” at the Crossroads Shopping Center. This location is a fully-equipped satellite office, specializing in personalized customer services and outreach to Bellevue’s diverse population. Services are provided in eight languages and staff are available to provide information and assistance to visitors Monday through Saturday. Services include information and referral, connection to city and community services, quick responses to concerns, information about jobs, city bill payment location, multi-language materials and services, and community events. The city is interested in extending this type of service to communities beyond the Crossroads Shopping Center with evaluation of options, resource needs, potential costs and development of a pilot project to implement a mobile mini city hall.

HPG-5: Drone Policy Development

Division | Department: City Manager’s Office
City Project Lead: Nancy LaCombe
Faculty: William Covington
UW School of Law
Quarters: Fall 2018, Winter and Spring 2018

New technology related to unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones), has significant implications across many platforms (privacy, federal laws, state laws, property laws, safety, etc.), coupled with licensing and registration requirements. This project would help develop, identify, and analyze the implications of using drones to support city services, in order to determine whether the city should proceed to engage the public and policymakers about potential public use. The city would benefit from evaluation and assessment of current trends, and recommendations for public engagement strategies and policy language for the use of drones within the city, including lessons learned from other local government entities that have already employed this technology.

HPG-6: Increasing Equity and Access for Open Meetings

Division | Department: City Clerk’s Office
City Project Lead: Kyle Stannert
Faculty: TBD
UW Department: Evans School of Public Policy and Governance
Quarters: Winter and Spring 2018

A baseline of requirements for meetings of governing bodies is established by the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) (RCW 42.30). While many aspects of the law are focused on actions taken by members of the body, there are community-facing requirements that must be met for a meeting to be valid. These elements, and historic best practices for public participation, include:

  • Public notice of meetings, special meetings, and public hearings;
  • Agendas and published meeting materials;
  • Creation of meeting minutes;
  • Rules governing public comment during meetings.

City Clerk’s Office staff are interested in pursuing methods to enhance traditional approaches of meeting compliance that reflect the community we serve. Areas of exploration may include methods of communicating with governing bodies (online and in person) and using technology to assist with the translation of meeting materials and presentations.

Deliverables may include strategy guidance such as the development of a maturity model, identification of tools and processes, or research into emerging best practices supporting public participation.

HPG-8: Budget Book Evaluation

Division | Department: Budget | Finance
City Project Lead: Jordan More
Faculty: TBD
UW Department: TBD
Quarter: TBD

The City of Bellevue currently produces a budget book that spans 730 pages every biennium. While it must contain certain elements per the RCW, the book also needs to tell the story of the city to help policymakers, staff, and citizens understand the work the City performs. As part of this project, we would be looking for an analysis on how well the current budget book performs this task and seeking suggestions on how to make it better.

Deliverables would include concrete feedback on how various sections of Bellevue’s budget book tell the story; reviews of budget books from other cities and how well these products succeed in this goal; and potentially reworking either discrete portions, or even the entire Bellevue budget book, into a new, superior product. This project would be great for Finance, Accounting, Public Administration, or Public Policy students to learn the workings of the Bellevue budget and budget process.

 HPG-9: Public Private Partnerships

Division | Department: Cultural and Economic Vitality | Community Development
City Project Lead: Jesse Canedo
Faculty: H. Pike Oliver
UW Department: Real Estate
Quarter: Fall 2018

This project consists of conducting research and making recommendations on how to use a Public-Private Partnership model to redevelop city-owned property for public benefit. Examples include building affordable commercial space above a public parking garage, building artist housing in BelRed, and building a campus for a creative arts college. Deliverables may include recommendations on how to execute complex property transactions, risk management and risk sharing best practices, possible changes in city policy, and lists of potential venture partners, among other things. The final project will be developed in partnership with COB’s new P3 Manager.

Project participants are encouraged to explore successful P3 models and lessons learned in other communities. The city needs particular help to understand opportunities in Bellevue based on the interaction of Washington state regulations, property conditions, and capital markets.

HPG-13: Automatic Vehicle Locator for Transportation: Streets/Signals

Division | Department: Traffic Engineering | Transportation
City Project Lead: Daniel Lai
Faculty: Patty Buchanan
UW Department: Industrial and Systems Engineering
Quarters: Winter and Spring 2019

The ability to automatically and quickly locate the geographic location of a city-owned vehicle could provide benefit to resource management, more rapid deployment of emergency vehicles, and/or more timely issue resolution. Automatic vehicle locator technology could also increase efficiency of fleet operations, reduce vehicle downtime, and enhance worker safety. Students will assess existing challenges, evaluate best practices/available options, identify potential costs, and develop recommendations for implementation.

HPG-14: Community Outreach Using CRR

Division | Department: Community Liaison | Fire Department
City Project Lead: Heather Wong
Faculty: Annie Bruck
School of Nursing and Health Studies, UW Bothell
Quarter: Winter 2019

Building on work done to prepare for Fire Department re-accreditation, prepare outreach strategies using Community Risk Reduction (CRR) for our most at-risk populations. This effort would identify the risk factors, most effective engagement strategies, and resources. Additional information regarding CRR best practices can be found here. The Bellevue Fire Department’s CRR visualization tool can be found here.

HPG-22: Translating Emergency Communications

Division | Department: Office of Emergency Management | Fire Department
City Project Lead: Ellen Montanana
Faculty: Hendrika Meischke
UW Department: Health Services
Quarters: Winter and Spring 2019

Effective and efficient communications with the public are critical following an emergency or disaster. However, sharing this life safety information is not helpful for individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) who cannot understand everything being said. To address this issue, the Washington State Legislature approved RCW 38.52.070, which requires that all emergency communications be shared in languages spoken by significant portions of the jurisdiction’s population. This law seeks to ensure all residents can receive life safety information following a disaster and are able to take necessary actions to protect themselves and their families. The city would benefit from research regarding which languages are most frequently used and should be translated for Bellevue, strategies for communicating effectively with non-English speaking populations during emergencies, and the development of stronger relationships with local non-English speaking communities.

HPG-30: User-Centered Design Research and Improvement for the City of Bellevue’s Public Website

Division | Department: Information Technology
City Project Lead: Enzhou Wang
Faculty: Mark Chen
UW Department: Interactive Media Design, UW Bothell 
Quarter: Fall 2018

This project will dive into qualitative research methods for understanding users and user behaviors as part of user-centered design. In the quarter-long research project, students will work with City of Bellevue to conduct user research for the City website. The students will develop user personas based on resident demographics and user research. Students will also identify key user scenarios and develop current and desired user journey maps. The project culminates with a detailed report showcasing the research findings and suggesting design solutions to improve and enhance the digital experience of Bellevue residents and visitors.