Housing & Smart Growth

We help create vibrant and healthy built environments for both people and the planet. The Housing & Smart Growth Program supports local businesses in this sector, advances the most cutting edge sustainability practices, and contributes to an improved quality of life for our region.


CEC Logo Formatted
Looking for the Whatcom Housing Alliance? Visit the Whatcom Housing Alliance website to learn how we are creating opportunities for more diverse housing choices in all neighborhoods that will contribute toward equitable, prosperous, healthy, and vibrant communities for everyone.

What is Smart Growth?

Smart Growth America defines smart growth as an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. The 10 principles listed here are considered the foundation of a smart growth approach.
1. Mix land uses
2. Take advantage of compact design
3. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
4. Create walkable neighborhoods
5. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
6. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
7. Direct development towards existing communities
8. Provide a variety of transportation choices
9. Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective
10. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions

Smart Growth Projects


Working to build upon community leadership, we collaborate with partners to create new spaces that help revitalize neighborhoods. Previous projects include Kapow!, Commercial St. Night Market, Birchwood International Market, Bellingham Soapbox, Synchro Tree City, Shadow Geometry, the Untzbrella, and more!


Sustainable Connections is proud to be the backbone agency for the Whatcom Housing Alliance, a group of local organizations working to increase opportunities for people of all income levels to have the opportunity to live in walkable neighborhoods that foster healthy lifestyles. Whatcom Housing Week and Bellingham For Everyone are projects of the Whatcom Housing Alliance.


Whatcom Housing Alliance & Bellingham For Everyone

Sustainable Connections is proud to be the backbone agency for the Whatcom Housing Alliance, a broad alliance of 40+ cross-sector organizations and key stakeholders in our community. WHA focuses on bringing diverse perspectives together to foster relationships and work collectively towards a common goal: creating diverse housing options in all neighborhoods. Whatcom Housing Weekand Bellingham For Everyone are projects of the Whatcom Housing Alliance.


Housing Week Nov 6-9

ADU Handbook

Developing an ADU can seem daunting, but you are not alone. Many ADU permit applications are submitted by homeowners who are first-time applicants! We developed a handbook to help homeowners determine if creating an ADU on their property is feasible, and provide step-by-step guidance for how to proceed with developing one.

Education & Advocacy

Bellingham For Everyone – BFE is a public-focused education campaign designed to encourage neighbors to be involved in local housing issues – we want to educate residents around housing policy and solutions in a way that is easy to understand, dispels common myths, uplifts underrepresented voices, and connects housing to community values.


We offer a handful of housing & smart growth events throughout the year. Whatcom Housing Week is a series of events that build awareness and support for innovative housing solutions to create safe, equitable, and affordable homes for everyone. The Bellingham For Everyone Learning Series offers virtual events that keep Allies engaged, educated, and mobilized!
GROW kids
Night Market image
Birchwood International Market

Become A Member or Donate Today!

Become a business memberDonate as an individual