I figure to make this official a manifesto is warranted:
In response to the dearth of affordable, green, multi-family housing in Seattle, I have decided that we should band together and try to build some ourselves. My wife and I would love a small townhouse, maybe 2BR/1.5BA, close to all the amenities that we have grown accustomed to living in lower QA and Capitol Hill (grocery store, drug store, restaurants, video rental, coffee shop, etc), near a park, a short walk to transit, and so on. While this living arrangement is inherently green (both increased density and site selection if you're at all familiar with LEED), I would prefer to build residences with as many other green features as possible (continuous hot water circulation, low flow appliances, fluorescent lighting, recycled materials, reclaimed water for non-potable uses, etc).
Of course, money is an issue, as it always is. I'm hoping that by pooling our resources (money) and time (for those interested parties) we can cut out the developers that are only in to construction for the financial gains. I'm hoping that we can create a place where we want to live, that fits within a neighborhood rather than plowing over it. I believe that a co-op would be the best way to reach this goal.
What is a co-op, you ask? Well, it's similar to a nonprofit that owns a building and each member has the right to occupy a unit. An added advantage is that the co-op has to approve of new residents. I know that sounds discriminatory but it would keep the character of community intact (green, urban, accepting, etc.).
I've created this site as a place for interested parties to interact and share ideas. Maybe there are enough people to pursue a single project as I mentioned above or something completely different (smaller units, no kids, shared food or gardening, etc.). I'm a structural engineer and a LEED Accredited Professional; I know an architect that works with other progressive architects/developers and am acquainted with several developers that I may be able to solicit for advice. So please, post comments, exchange ideas, and let's try to see what we can accomplish.