Consulting for Clean Water
Urban Systems Design provides collaborative, whole systems approaches to improving public engagement outcomes for stormwater planning, delivery and partnership development. The firm is dedicated to promoting inclusive participation and service equity to develop creative, resilient solutions to urban green infrastructure challenges.
Cari Simson brings multifaceted and adaptable talents and experiences dedicated to serving diverse communities, leveraging human capacity and resources, and making something happen where nothing existed before.
"My professional work is committed to improving the built environment by ensuring multi-stakeholder collaboration in an innovative, participatory design process."
Over the past six years, my business development skill set has grown to include fund-raising through grants, contracts and donations. I have a track record of growing diverse teams, including young adults, bilingual outreach staff, interns, consultants, and volunteers.
Cari Simson founded the award-winning consulting firm, Urban Systems Design LLC, in 2009. Urban Systems Design (USD), provides professional consulting services to clients through integrating a collaborative, whole systems approach to improving urban livability and resilience. The woman-owned firm specializes in delivering expert leadership to projects that exemplify effective public-private partnerships, inter-agency coordination, and community engagement to transform the built environment. The firm’s work is dedicated to promoting service equity and broad participation to develop creative, resilient solutions to urban green infrastructure challenges.
Urban Systems Design works with both community and municipal clients to implement projects that improve the built environment for people and wildlife. Urban Systems Design develops creative, engaging strategies to bring urban sustainability visions into reality through grant writing, project management and implementation, as well as facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration towards larger local and regional goals.
Cultural understanding of communities' assets and challenges, and a proven track record of collaboration with diverse partners and community members to foster groundbreaking and sustainable outcomes.
Leadership with Pragmatism, to see where there is desire and momentum that can be leveraged, and where there is a need for capacity-building and support. With so many competing needs and constant demands on South Seattle, I am a leader who encourages my team to flourish in the areas where they bring talents while always ensuring they have the resources, training and support that they need to thrive.
Collaborative cultivation of Visions alongside multiple partners who can see the beauty in the gritty eco-industrial environment, who dare to plant seeds in the tiniest patches of de-paved landscapes, to sustain a thriving riparian ecosystem alongside working waterfronts and businesses.
Most recently, while working as an employee at ECOSS (2019-2022) I provided leadership to create operational development at the intersection of diversity, equity and inclusion, with outcomes that include increasing velocity of business and partnership development through establishing a scalable process to pursue and evaluate multiple grants and competitive RFPs each month. I also helped define and refine a rubric to assess project-market fit to make optimal use of the organizations’ strengths. I procured and managed over $2.1 million in fee-for-service contracts and program grants. I helped build a young and diverse team through community recruitment, mentoring and goal-setting so that ECOSS can increase its capacity to serve clients and communities. I hired and onboarded diverse staff into the organization to increase clean water project management capacity. I’ve also supported racial equity, diversity and inclusion as tenets of ECOSS’ hiring, executive, and project management processes so that ECOSS can transition towards being a BIPOC-led organization and a model for the community.
An area of focus for the consulting firm is project management and fund development for Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). GSI is an engineered system intended to mimic natural drainage allowing our built environment to perform more like a healthy forest, wetland or prairie. GSI provides environmental, economic and social services to communities in the form of rain gardens, bioswales, and cisterns filtering pollution, reducing gray infrastructure costs and beautifying our neighborhoods and communities.
Urban Systems Design's projects bring together diverse public and private collaborators to leverage resources and implement creative solutions to our urban dilemmas. Whether writing grants, organizing events, developing outreach and educational materials or introducing new partners to each other, our projects address the social and environmental needs of the communities we work in.
Our Plastic Planet
Representing the global problem of ocean plastics and marine debris, the macramé installation, "Our Plastic Planet" includes repurposed, salvaged, and upcycled materials from local waterbodies, including Elliott Bay and the Duwamish River.
King County Clean Water Projects
Urban Systems Design provides interagency coordination, partnership development, communication services and public engagement support to King County's clean water programs by ensuring projects are environmentally just and benefit the communities they serve.
In 2022, USD will be working with King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) to develop and implement community-led neighborhood benefit projects as part of the West Duwamish Terminal-115 CSO control project.
Urban Systems Design recognized the need to increase the number of skilled workers in green infrastructure fields, and co-founded DIRT Corps in 2015. The program develops curriculum and provides young adults with access to green infrastructure jobs, while also supporting healthy communities and clean water.
Urban Systems Design partnered with several Seattle community-based organizations to install roadside rain gardens along neighborhood streets. USD understands how to coordinate site-based green infrastructure projects from inception to completion, while developing strong partnerships to make projects feasible and logistically streamlined.
By partnering with organizations around the Puget Sound, Urban Systems Design is able to bring together the collaborative and technical services needed to complete green infrastructure projects with equitable community involvement.