Public Policy Board

Architects care about the places they live and have the knowledge and tools to make a difference through design.

Through advocacy, AIA Seattle promotes a well-designed, sustainable city with opportunities for all and creates opportunities for architects to impact public policy and civic issues. Our advocacy agenda spans all scales of design in our city. AIA Seattle’s Public Policy Board (PPB), appointed by our Board of Directors, leads our advocacy efforts. Each fall, the PPB seeks member input on advocacy priorities, then selects a handful of issues as the focus of our work for the coming year.

What we do

  • Select a limited number of priority issues for direct advocacy
  • Recommend positions on issues for consideration by the AIA Seattle Board; the AIA Seattle Board issues new position statements on behalf of the organization
  • Seek input from other design and allied professionals

What we are working on

Ongoing advocacy priorities include:

  • Housing: housing availability and affordability; zoning; missing middle housing; growth strategies.
  • Sustainable Design: energy codes; building decarbonization; carbon pricing; materials transparency.
  • City Design: Seattle’s comprehensive plan; urban design plans; public realm.
  • Homelessness: supportive housing/housing first; affordable housing funding; increased mental health services.
  • Transportation: transit; walking and rolling; reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips; new mobility.

For more information on the PPB’s priorities, please review AIA Seattle’s Advocacy page.

The Public Policy Board Steering Committee and AIA Seattle do not endorse political candidates or take positions on specific building projects.

Committee members are appointed by the Board President. If you are interested in participating in one of the current policy issue groups or would like to raise an issue for consideration by the Public Policy Board, please contact Kirsten Smith, manager of policy and advocacy.


Committee Chair(s):

  • Shannon Payton AIA
  • Matt Hutchins AIA
  • Contact the Committee Chair(s):

    Updates from Public Policy Board

    Advocacy Update – February 2022

    NATIONAL NEWS National Building Performance Standard Effort At the United States Conference of Mayors winter meeting in January, President Biden announced a new partnership with state and local governments to reduce carbon emissions from the built environment. Known as the

    Advocacy Update – January 2022

    STATE NEWS State Building Code Council Releases 2021 Commercial Energy Code The 2021 commercial energy code amendments have been released by the State Building Code Council; you can view the proposed rule here. Public comments can be emailed to

    Advocacy Update – December 2021

    STATE NEWS Washington’s Redistricting Process Ends Washington’s redistricting saga has ended, with the state Supreme Court declining to develop its own district maps and allowing the maps approved after the deadline by the state’s redistricting commission to take effect. You

    Advocacy Update – November 2021

    STATE NEWS Washington Redistricting Washington’s redistricting commission, charged with determining new state and Congressional legislative districts after the 2020 census, failed to meet its Nov. 15 deadline to agree on new district maps. The failure of the panel, made up

    Advocacy Update – October 2021

    STATE NEWS Washington’s Tax System Overhaul Committee Would Like Your Feedback Are you fed up with Washington’s tax system? This is your opportunity to let legislators know what you’d like to see instead. The state’s Tax Structure Work Group, led

    Advocacy Update – September 2021

    STATE NEWS Washington’s Tax System Overhaul Under Discussion Washington has a multi-year Tax Structure Work Group led by a bipartisan group of legislators and charged with researching, evaluating, and conducting public outreach around developing a new state taxation system that

    Housing Advocacy: Neighborhood Residential

    Legislation to rename Seattle’s single family zoning category from “Single Family” to “Neighborhood Residential” will be voted on at a Sept. 24th Land Use & Neighborhoods City Council Committee meeting. This legislation does not make actual changes to the existing

    Advocacy Update – August 2021

    LOCAL NEWS 2020 MHA Report Released Seattle’s Office of Housing released its first annual report on the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability and Incentive Zoning program, including long-anticipated data on housing projects’ use of payment versus performance under the program. While

    Advocacy Update – July 2021

    NATIONAL NEWS California Gas Ban Lawsuit Dismissed A federal court in San Francisco dismissed a preemption challenge to the ban on gas hookups in new construction in Berkeley, California. California has more than 40 cities that have implemented gas bans

    2020 Advocacy Actions

    Local We endorsed the Seattle Planning Commission’s Growth Strategy White Paper, Evolving Seattle’s Growth Strategy. We provided feedback to SDCI on the Seattle Services Portal. We organized architect focus groups for Seattle Public Utilities’ update on solid waste planning and

    2020 Committee & Volunteer Awards

    This year we recognize Matt Hutchins AIA; the Seattle Design Festival Core Team; and the Committee on the Environment, co-chairs: Shannon Bunsen and Gaurav Mehta. AIA Seattle Volunteer Award: Matt Hutchins AIA Matt Hutchins is a founder and principal of CAST

    Advocacy Update – August 2020

    FEDERAL NEWS AIA National Policy Platform AIA National has released a federal policy platform in advance of this year’s presidential elections. General categories include: A future economy Climate action Healthy and equitable communities STATE NEWS Clean Energy Transformation Act The

    Advocacy Update – June 2020

    BLACK LIVES MATTER AIA Seattle joins powerful community voices raised to condemn the murder of George Floyd and the broader system of racism, violence, injustice, and inequity that it represents. In the coming weeks, you will hear more about our

    Advocacy Update – May 2020

    As we continue to navigate work in these unprecedented times, AIA Seattle and AIA Washington Council are striving to make sure you have the resources you need to take advantage of federal, state, and local programs designed to help firms

    Seattle Project Related Resources during Covid-19

      SDCI Q&A On May 20, AIA Seattle held an online Q&A with SDCI about their project-related processes during COVID. You can watch that video here. Use password 8x+8M8uA Codes  SDCI Delays 2018 Construction Code Implementation to November On March

    Advocacy Update – March 2020

    ARCHITECT ADVOCACY IN ACTION Seattle Firm Prompts New Rulemaking for Common Sense Bar Design This report is written by Joe Herrin AIA, Principal at Heliotrope in Seattle. Heliotrope is fortunate to have collaborated with many of Seattle’s most successful restauranteurs.

    Advocacy Update – February 2020

    FEDERAL NEWS Support Federal Legislation to Phase Down HFCs Architects Advocate, an independent group of architects and firms formed to advocate for policies to mitigate climate change, is calling for architects to support two bipartisan bills in Congress that would

    Advocacy Update – January 2020

    STATE NEWS Washington’s 2020 Legislative Session is Underway The state legislative session kicked off this week and will run through mid-March. AIA Washington Council will be providing weekly updates on the bills it is tracking and any new developments. Key

    Advocacy Update – November 2019

    NATIONAL NEWS ICC Vote on AIA’s Zero Code Renewable Energy Appendix In coordination with Architecture 2030, AIA National submitted a Zero Code Renewable Energy Appendix to become part of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The Appendix is optional

    Advocacy Update – October 2019

    NATIONAL NEWS ICC vote on AIA’s Zero Code Renewable Energy Appendix AIA National submitted a Zero Code Renewable Energy Appendix to become part of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). If approved by the International Code Council (ICC) voting

    Advocacy Update – September 2019

    NATIONAL NEWS AIA Makes Big Move on Climate This month AIA National launched an initiative to drive climate action within the architecture profession. As part of this effort, AIA called on architects around the world to support humanity’s collective call

    Climate Partner: Shift Zero

    Its aim is to form a collective voice to advocate on behalf of zero net carbon buildings; inform policy solutions; and educate policymakers at all levels of government. Shift Zero’s diverse membership of local, regional and statewide organizations unites a

    Seattle Proposes Speeding Up Oil to Electric Heating Conversions

    Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a plan to speed up the conversion of homes that burn oil for heat to cleaner electric heating as part of the city’s 2018 Seattle Climate Strategy. The City Council with consider legislation that would

    Seattle Enacts ADU Legislation

    Two ADUs will now be allowed on each lot, either two attached ADUs or one attached ADU and one detached ADU. The maximum DADU size will increase from 800 to 1,000 square feet and the minimum lot size for DADUs

    Advocacy Update – August 2019

    STATE NEWS Residential Energy Code Update Washington’s State Building Code Council (SBCC) is in the process of reviewing proposed amendments to the 2018 residential energy codes as approved by the SBCC’s Energy Code Technical Advisory Group. The proposed residential energy

    Mayor Durkan Announces Housing Seattle Now

    Mayor Durkan announced her Housing Seattle Now initiative outlining various strategies and policies to address housing and homelessness. This initiative rebrands the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, which AIA Seattle previously endorsed. Durkan outlined four priorities for Housing Seattle Now:

    Advocacy Update – June 2019

    STATE NEWS State Legislative Session We are reposting AIA Washington Council’s final report on this year’s legislative session, which can be found here. AIA|WA encourages members to attend their state legislators’ in-district open-houses over the summer and fall. These are

    Advocacy Update – May 2019

    STATE NEWS State Legislative Session The Legislature adjourned minutes before midnight on April 28, marking the first time in 10 years that a legislature has ended a budget-writing session on time. The state budgets were pushed through in the final

    Advocacy Update – April 2019

    FEDERAL NEWS AIA Pledges Support for the Invest in America Act AIA National is supporting a newly-introduced federal bill, the Invest in America Act (HR 2210), which was introduced on April 10 by Rep. John Larson (D-Connecticut) and Rep. Kenny

    Advocacy Update – March 2019

    FEDERAL NEWS AIA Grassroots An AIA Seattle contingent attended AIA’s Grassroots conference in Washington, D.C. this month and participated in Hill Day, where AIA members from across the nation head to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators. AIA Seattle

    Advocacy Update – February 2019

    FEDERAL NEWS Virtual Capitol Hill Day AIA members not attending AIA National’s Grassroots conference in DC next month are invited to participate in a Virtual Capitol Hill Day instead. On March 6, AIA members will be able to use this

    Advocacy Update – January 2019

    STATE NEWS 2019 Legislative Session The 2019 state legislative session began this week in Olympia and will run through April 28. AIA Washington Council is already participating in hearings on bills related to the Governor’s clean buildings climate package and

    Advocacy Update – November 2018

    NATIONAL NEWS From AIA National: ICC Voting Open The ICC has concluded its Public Comment Hearings for Group A of the 2021 ICC, and registered members may now vote on proposals that will directly impact the next edition of the

    Advocacy Update – October 2018

    NATIONAL NEWS AIA Secures Language to Better Utilize Architects for Disaster Recovery Efforts Congress and President Trump enacted the Disaster Recovery Reform Act in October, paving the way for AIA to advance opportunities for architects to better serve communities when

    Advocacy Update – September 2018

    NATIONAL NEWS AIA Seattle Director Represents AIA at Global Climate Action Summit AIA Seattle Executive Director Lisa Richmond joined the AIA National delegation at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in mid-September. The Summit was convened by the

    Advocacy Update – August 2018

    NATIONAL NEWS AIA Adds Voice in Opposition to Asbestos AIA National issued comments to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Acting Administrator this month on asbestos, opposing a proposed new federal rule that would create a pathway to consider new uses

    Seattle Design Festival

    Seattle Design Festival

    Seattle Design Festival connects designers, community members and civic leaders to explore the ways design improves our city and our lives - The 2022 Festival was August 20-26. Read more


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