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Machinami Foundation Visits Issaquah Highlands

Pictured above is Bryan Bell, resident of zHome, providing a tour to the visitors from the Machinami Foundation from Japan. Bryan and his wife Karin Weekly are enthusiastic ambassadors for their innovative home, which generates more energy in a year than it uses.

On July 12 Issaquah Highlands hosted the Machinami Foundation, a Street Scene Foundation from Japan. The Foundation reached out to the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA) requesting to include the community on their 2019 international tour, this year focusing on three west coast cities: Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC.

Highlands Council coordinated the visit which included presentations by the City of Issaquah, the IHCA and Highlands Council. They also arranged that the visitors get a tour of zHome, the first multi-family zero-net energy neighborhood in the nation. And the group took a short drive and walk through a few parts of Issaquah Highlands. (Pictured above.)

On the tour the visitors enjoyed seeing how affordable housing is mixed in with market rate homes ($1m+) and that each neighborhood has at least one park and oftentimes front porches that face common areas for neighbors to gather.

The mix of housing and the completeness of the community was also of interest: housing, home businesses, retail and commercial, all contributing to the quality of life in Issaquah Highlands. The visitors were also impressed with Issaquah’s preservation of 1,500 acres of open space and parks in planning this community.

The Machinami Foundation is part of the Housing Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism in Japan. Its purpose is to contribute to the betterment of homes and residential environments. They brought about 20 guests (builders and architects) to learn about Issaquah Highlands development history and characteristics, how the IHCA elects and empowers their board to protect homeowner property values, and how Highlands Council provides events and programming, as well as official communications for the community.

Akio Yumoto, Travel Coordinator for Machinami Foundation, called it a Study mission and said, “The tour was very useful for us as a success example.”

This tour was part of Machinami Foundation’s research work, what they call “overseas inspection” (at least what their website translates this category). Their objectives are described as this: We select excellent residential areas overseas, inspect mainly on town planning and housing management, etc., and use them widely for town development.

Christy Garrard “It was a group from the Machinami Foundation from Japan. They are architects, land and community builders interested in learning about Issaquah Highlands urban village design. It was an honor to host them. Issaquah Highlands is very renowned internationally for our sustainable design.”