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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.​


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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 seven years, my business development skill set has grown to include fund-raising through grants, contracts and donations. I have a track record of raising funding for priority community-led projects, while growing diverse teams, including young adults, bilingual outreach staff, interns, consultants, and volunteers.

I founded the award-winning consulting firm, Urban Systems Design LLC, in 2009.  Urban Systems Design (USD), provides collaborative, whole systems approaches to improving public engagement outcomes for stormwater planning, project delivery and partnership development. I'm dedicated to promoting inclusive participation and service equity to develop creative, climate resilient solutions to clean water challenges.

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Owner Cari Simson leads stakeholders on a tour of the Duwamish River providing historical and cultural context for projects on this important waterway.  Photo Tom Reese
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Urban Systems Design works with both community and municipal utility 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.

While working at ECOSS (2019-2022) I provided leadership to create operational development at the intersection of diversity, equity and inclusion, with outcomes that included increasing velocity of business and partnership development through establishing a scalable process to pursue and evaluate multiple grants and competitive RFPs. I also helped define and refine a rubric to assess project-market fit to make optimal use of the organization's 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.



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.

RainWise Contractor Skill-Building Series - Launch your RainWise Business

Through a Seattle Public Utilities Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program contract, USD developed, wrote, edited and recorded a five module series for new RainWise contractors. The series supported the development and ongoing support services for GSI workforce development; developed five self-paced training modules for the RainWise program; developed a mentoring process for new contractors to start businesses and increase skills to design and construct RainWise rain garden and cistern installations. 


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.


USD is working with King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) to develop and implement community-led neighborhood benefit projects as part of the West Duwamish Wet Weather Storage Facility CSO control project. 



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. 



ADDRESS: 8001 14th Avenue NE, Suite A; SEATTLE, WA 98115


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