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Sustainable Design

High Point is the first large-scale development in the country to feature low-impact, sustainable design in a dense urban setting. It is a model for healthy home development that benefits the environment and promotes healthy living.

A pedestrian-friendly neighborhood

High Point's narrow streets, short blocks and wide planting strips promote walking. The site's design encourages social interaction and physical activity, while decreasing reliance on cars.


More than 20 old units were deconstructed in Phase I of redevelopment. The original materials, including lumber, plywood and plumbing fixtures, were salvaged, then sold or reused.

Construction strategies

Many sustainable design choices at High Point cost less than alternatives, including the minimizing of grading on the site, the stockpiling and reuse of topsoil, the reuse of demolished paving for trench backfill, and 25-foot-wide local streets.

A number of other design choices added minimal cost to construction, including the use of low-VOC paint, adhesives and cabinets; native, drought-resistant plants; airtight drywall; and modified, advance-framed, panelized walls.

Amenities with environmental benefits that came with added costs include compact fluorescent lights, Energy Star washing machines and dryers, whole-house fans, closed-loop hydronic systems, tankless hot water heaters, Marmoleum floor coverings, higher R-value windows, the retention of mature trees and deconstruction of old housing units.

Sustainable construction strategies contribute to reduced utility expenses, which help offset the additional expense.

Natural drainage system

Natural drainage swalesIn partnership with Seattle Public Utilities, an innovative natural drainage system is being used to manage stormwater on site, improve water quality, protect salmon habitat and allow the built environment to mimic natural drainage qualities.

More than four miles of grass and vegetated swales are in place at High Point. A drainage retention pond collects and cleans surface storm water run-off, and directs the flow into Longfellow Creek.

In addition to its environmental benefits, the pond is a central feature of the community, with a quarter-mile walking trail and serving as a gathering place for neighbors.

Protecting air quality

350,000 gallons of alternative, ultra-low sulfur bio-diesel fuel have been used during infrastructure construction.

Breathe Easy Homes

A partnership led by Neighborhood House obtained $1.8 million in Healthy Homes grants. Sixty Breathe Easy Homes were built, helping to decrease the risk factors that cause asthma among low-income children. As part of this project, an environmental outreach program focuses on improving resident health.

More information on High Point's Breathe Easy Homes.

Preserving trees & open space

Open space at High PointOver 100 mature trees have been saved at High Point. Preserving healthy, functional, and aesthetically pleasing trees contributes to a unique neighborhood character and enhances the overall quality of the development. The value of preserved trees in Phase I alone, as assessed by a professional arborist, is more than $1.5 million. Approximately 2,600 trees were added to High Point as part of the site's redevelopment.

High Point also features more than 20 acres of open space, including front and back yards, gardens, and pocket and neighborhood parks. Parks and open spaces are maintained using organic landscaping methods.

Environmental Impact Statement

The Final Environmental Impact Statement for High Point was issued on September 24, 2002. The complete report and its two addenda are available, along with a fact sheet, in PDF format (download Adobe Reader).

Full copies of the statement can be purchased for $25 at the Seattle Housing Authority's central office. Please call 206-615-3365 to make arrangements to review or obtain a copy.