Seattle – Introduction

  • To download Urban Forests Case Studies: Seattle as a PDF, click here.

SEATTLE, Washington, sits on a narrow strip of land between Puget Sound on the west and Lake Washington on the east with the Olympic and Cascade Mountains looming in the distance. This orientation gives the city a mild marine climate, ideally suited for vegetation to thrive. In addition, in 1902, the city hired the famed Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm to prepare a plan for the city’s parks and parkways, which was adopted by the City Council in 1903.[1] Despite these foundations for a vibrant, healthy urban forest, Seattle saw its tree canopy coverage decrease from 40 percent in the 1970s to 18 percent in 2007.[2] In the last decade, Seattle has been trying to transform itself into a model green city.


Previous: Atlanta – Turning Brownfields to Greenfields                            Next: Seattle – Partnerships for Urban Forest



[1] The Northwest Digital Archives. Guide to the Don Sherwood Parks History Collection 1876-1979. (accessed Oct. 1, 2012).

[2] City of Seattle. Office of Sustainability and Environment. Plans and Documents. Urban Forest Management Plan April 2007. (accessed Oct. 1, 2012).