Introducing Michele Fierro, TNAC’s Bellevue (Washington) Dispatcher

Here’s the first of many posts from Michele Fierro, who will be reporting on life and planning in Bellevue, Washington. She’s scheduled to post on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. Take it away Michele.

From the balcony of my apartment in Bellevue, today I count seven cranes working on five construction sites, including three new towers. I say “today” because when I moved to this apartment three weeks ago, I could see only one of the new towers. When I initially moved to Bellevue a year ago, there were hardly any new towers under construction — just a lot of holes in the ground.

I graduated from Virginia Tech’s architecture school in May 2006. Long an east coast girl, I picked up my roots and moved west when I landed a job with an architecture firm. For much of my life, I’ve dreamed of becoming an architect; I want the chance to help build the future of our world, one project at a time. As I work toward that goal day by day, I watch my new city reaching for the sky.

At last count, downtown Bellevue had twenty-one cranes spread over its twenty square blocks. Never have I seen so much construction concentrated in one zip code, as the city transforms from forgettable low-rise to a destination competing with Seattle, just across the lake. Even better is the city’s proactive approach in its redevelopment. City planners actively engage residents in the new aesthetic of the city, through workshops, open houses and email newsletters.

In the coming months, I will share with you my insights and explorations of my new home. Having recently sold my car with no immediate plans to replace it, I will be discovering exactly how successful the city’s pedestrian-focused initiatives are. And I will put my green urbanism ideals to the test between the expanding mass transit system and my new Flexcar membership. My classroom-formed theories are quickly colliding with my real world experience. Come, take this journey with me.

—Michele Fierro