City Cabins at Abbott’s Alley: An Example of How Small Towns Are Transformed

City Cabins at Abbott’s Alley will be the case study for my talk which will focus on the need to take our collective methods of forward building techniques out into

the greater world at large.  How does this play out in small town America where progressive ways of thinking and building are less prevalent than in big cities?


My premise is:  to speed up the transformation our world is going through - - to get to clean energy - - we need to get farther out of our comfort zones and work in

uncertain territory. By integrating into communities that have been largely sheltered from green building, we change the culture from the inside out.  Let’s look at

how to do this.


I want you to come away with your own ideas about playing a bigger role in small town urban planning, development, and building.  I will also share our Low Impact

Development stormwater management approach, the details of our accessible and adaptive spaces, and of course, the energy efficiency and healthy home strategies we employ. Finally, I will touch on the financing hurdles I faced. The bankers here say “If only your homes were more like what the other builders are




Learning Objectives:

At the end of the session, attendees will be able to actively:

  • Analyze a property's potential for development and how that best fits the community's goal/image

  • Apply health, safety and welfare thinking to every project: accessibility features, space designed for flexibility, use of non-toxic natural materials

  • Explain how house-as-a-system produces the best outcome for energy efficiency, health and general well being

  • List ways to think outside of the box when designing Low Impact Development



Martha Rose

With forty five years of hands-on participation in construction, Martha has a unique perspective to offer our industry.  Her experience as a laborer, carpenter, building inspector, project manager, consultant and builder/developer help her to see solutions from many angles.


For five years in the late 1970’s, she lived in rural Grays Harbor and became involved in the alternative energy movement.  Other than that time, she has always lived and worked in large urban centers with the belief that development needs to happen where the infrastructure is, so that our greenspaces can remain intact.  In her 30-plus years of living in Seattle, she was able to build many projects and immerse herself into the dynamics of builder/agency relationships while honing her green building skills.


Decades of grinding through Department of Planning and Development meetings, as a representative

for various groups, left her longing for a change.  In 2015, she moved to rural Sedro-Woolley, Washington where she now is happily living and


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