Engaging tomorrow’s leaders in planning for 2050

On Wednesday, April 3, PSRC staff met with the Bellevue Youth Council to learn about their vision for 2050.

To kick things off, staff provided an overview of regional planning and VISION 2050. The students then divided into groups to share with PSRC staff their thoughts on the current state of the city and how they would like it to grow.

A map of Bellevue was used to guide the discussion. The students used emojis to show what they liked about their city and the changes they wanted to see. They expressed their love for the city’s parks, recreational spaces and activity centers, such as shopping centers and libraries; places where they could spend time with friends.

After marking future light rail stations, the students used Legos to indicate where they wanted to see new housing, commercial spaces and parks by 2050.

Participants noted the importance of balancing where people live and work with adequate parks and recreational spaces. They wanted to preserve Bellevue’s rich, natural environment so that buildings and green spaces could “peacefully coexist.” They noted that light rail wasn’t coming soon enough, and many indicated that growth should occur around the stations in conjunction with increased bus service.

Mayor John Chelminiak and Councilmember Janice Zahn also attended. They shared with students the importance of planning with regional partners, as how and where growth occurs affects our region’s residents, the environment and the economy.

As the region’s long-range plan and growth strategy is updated, PSRC is working with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure everyone’s voices are heard. Considering that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, PSRC is meeting with middle school and high school aged students to better understand their priorities and vision of the future of their communities.

This meeting was the first of four youth outreach events. On April 16, PSRC staff will meet with the Mukilteo Youth Advisory Committee, followed by the Edmonds Youth Commission on April 17. Staff will meet with the Issaquah Youth Advisory Board on May 7.

Know of a youth advisory group that would be interested in learning about regional planning and VISION 2050? We’d love to chat with them! Contact Laura Benjamin at 206-464-7134 or lbenjamin@psrc.org about PSRC staff attending a meeting.