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OPCD will be hosting Urban Innovations to increase public awareness of global best practices to achieve an integrated approach to planning for livable cities.
Topics will include:
- affordable housing
- urban design for community health
- community-based resilience
- new trends in urban development
- integrated land use, open space, transportation design and sustainability
The series will bring recognized experts to Seattle, joined by local and regional speakers to help ground the series in issues specific to Seattle and the region.
To kick off the series on March 7th, Sam Assefa will welcome his fellow planning directors from Vancouver, Portland and San Francisco to discuss their efforts to support more affordable housing. West Coast cities continue to struggle with high housing costs. Low and moderate-income housing is difficult to develop given today’s methods of building and price of land. Yet innovations are being pursued and this discussion will identify intersecting strategies that create opportunities to address the challenge. Local experts will share their experiences with innovative public and private strategies being implemented here to address this need.
Creating affordable housing: Lessons from Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle
March 7th, 5:30pm, Seattle Central Library
The City of Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) is a set of strategies to address equity in our underserved communities and displacement as Seattle grows. Various EDI strategies will support the City’s efforts to:
- Advance economic mobility and opportunity
- Prevent residential, commercial and cultural displacement
- Build on local cultural assets
- Promote transportation mobility and connectivity
- Develop healthy and safe neighborhoods
To support these goals, Mayor Ed Murray announced last October that the City will dedicate $16 million to establish a new EDI Fund. Several City departments are coordinating to support EDI communities and projects.
In November, Ubax Gardheere joined OPCD to manage the initiative. Ubax comes to us from Puget Sound Sage, and she brings experience in both policy development and community organizing around a diversity of issues.
Expect to hear more about the EDI Fund and decision-making processes soon.
Seattle’s Central Area neighborhood is going through a phase of rapid growth. As new developments spring up around the area, impacts are felt most strongly by smaller businesses and residents who have long called the Central Area their home.
The Central Area Neighborhood Design Guidelines Coalition is working to mitigate these impacts by teaming up with the City of Seattle and the Center for New Urbanism to outline a set of neighborhood specific guidelines to guide future development.
Come and provide your input! Feedback from the community is needed in order to guide these efforts and create Design Guidelines that will not only help shape new development in the Central Area today, but provide a path and identity for the future.
Central Area Neighborhood Design Guidelines Open House
Monday, Feb. 27, 5:00 p.m.
Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
Central Area Design Guidelines Events
All events located at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
Urban Structure Briefing: Saturday, February 25 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Public Open House: Monday, February 27 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Closing Presentation: Monday, February 27 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Contact Quanlin Hu at email@example.com for questions.
Over the last few days, the City of Seattle has heard from dozens of residents who worry that their immigration status or national origin may impact their access to City services or legal protections. In the aftermath of President Trump’s Executive Order to prevent entry into the United States of citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries, the Seattle City Council has reaffirmed Seattle’s status as a welcoming city that celebrates our immigrant and refugee families.
The City of Seattle has a long-standing policy to serve all our residents, regardless of where they were born or whether they are a citizen of the United States. City employees will never ask residents to disclose their immigration status unless police officers have a reasonable suspicion that a felony is being or has been committed. Everyone in Seattle should feel comfortable accessing vital City services, including law enforcement and emergency response services. The staff here at OPCD are committed to serving all Seattle families, and we will fight for your equality under the law.
As Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said, “The City of Seattle will continue to protect the rights guaranteed to the City and its people by the United States Constitution and will challenge any unconstitutional policies that threaten the security of our communities. We are a nation of laws and we are committed to defending our residents, our values, and the Constitution in the court of law.”
On a personal note, as an immigrant who fled political violence in Ethiopia, I add my voice to all those across our city who will resist unconstitutional efforts to prevent equal protection under the law. Religious tests must never be applied to any of the protections and services offered at any level of government, whether it is the City of Seattle or the United States of America. We must remember the tragic internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and vow that we will never again single out a racial, ethnic, or religious community – or any protected class – for discriminatory treatment. As an office specifically charged with leading and implementing the Mayor’s key initiatives aimed at making Seattle a livable and equitable city for all, the Office of Planning and Community Development takes this issue very seriously. I believe that the work we will accomplish together is even more important and critical now.
Thank you for your partnership as we seek to build a more equitable Seattle.
Samuel Assefa, Director
Office of Planning and Community Development
After five years of community input, analysis, and design work, the City is nearing completion of a major planning effort in the U District. As part of a larger set of policy changes and public investments, City Council is considering zoning changes that would allow greater height and density in the core of the neighborhood. These changes would allow more homes and jobs to go near the light rail station that will open in 2021.
U District Rezone City Council Meeting
Thursday, January 19, 2:00pm
Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue
Along with the rezone, the legislation before Council includes:
- New design standards to achieve greater quality and variety in new buildings.
- New affordable housing requirements, projected to produce between 620-910 new units of affordable housing.
- New requirements and incentives for public open space, historic preservation, childcare, and social services.
Following four public meetings and a public hearing in the fall, Council members will begin discussing potential amendments to the legislation on January 19. If you are unable to attend in person, Council meetings may be watched live online at www.seattlechannel.org/watch-live.
For details about the planning process or the proposal at Council, please visit www.seattle.gov/dpd/udistrict.
We are seeking a Senior Urban Designer to focus on land use, urban design and development issues in the Center City area of Seattle, as well as other Seattle neighborhoods. This person will provide advice and recommendations to the Planning Director and to elected officials about zoning decisions, development standards and urban design. The senior urban designer will work with community organizations to tailor recommendations to subareas within and outside the Center City of Seattle.
Apply before December 27. More information here: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/seattle/jobs/1602896/senior-urban-designer-strategic-advisor-i.
With the holidays and 2017 quickly approaching, this time for some is spent on last minute gift shopping. For those who are racking their brains on what to get a family member, friend, or co-worker, here’s are some urban-planning themed suggestions (OPCD staff take note for next year, hint hint).
1. URBAN FOLD (Planetizen, $24.95)
From Planetizen.com: Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds. You punch out shapes, fold them into blocks, customize with stickers, build + play, put away, build + play again, etc.
Our take: A really fun art kit that can be enjoyed by people of any age.
2. LEGO ARCHITECTURE STUDIO (Lego, $159.99)
From Lego.com: Bring your architectural creations to life in LEGO® form with LEGO Architecture Studio. In this amazing set you get over 1200 LEGO bricks and an inspirational guidebook filled with 272 pages of tips, techniques, features, and intuitive hands-on exercises endorsed by leading design houses. LEGO Architecture Studio gives you everything you need to create your very own unique buildings. Let your imagination guide your design!
Our take: Let’s be honest, it’s Lego packaged for adults!
3. COLORFUL SEATTLE – EXPLORE & COLOR (Amazon, $14.95)
From Amazon.com: From Chittenden Locks Fish Ladder to Olympic Sculpture Park where will you explore today? Colorful Seattle Explore & Color is an exploring guide and coloring book for Seattle.
Our take: For color book enthusiasts and those who always envisioned our downtown library as multicolored, your dreams have been fulfilled. Also great to encourage younger artists about how color is involved in urban design!
4. BETWEEN TWO CITIES (Stonemaier Games, $35.00)
From Stonemaier Games: In Between Two Cities, you are a world-renowned city planner who has been asked to redesign two different cities. Projects of such significance require the expertise of more than one person, so for each assignment you are paired with a partner with whom to discuss and execute your grandiose plans. Each turn features a simultaneous discussion with your two partners to decide which of your tiles to place into the cities you’re building with each of them and where in those cities to place the tiles. At the end of the game, there is only one winner, as each player compares the lowest scoring of their two cites.
Our take: Sounds like a perfect gift for those who are into city planning and board games, using strategy and teamwork to create a livable city.
5. Urbanized (Amazon.com, $10.48)
From IMDB.com: A documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.
Our take: An interesting visual take on how design influences our way of life, especially in the world of planning and community development.
Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine announced the City and County will each contribute up to $10 million for approximately 200 affordable housing units adjacent to the transit center and future light rail station in Northgate.
“Transportation has the power to transform entire communities,” said Mayor Murray. “The arrival of light rail in five years at the busiest transit hub in Seattle means the Northgate community is poised to become one of the most connected, livable areas of the city. Today’s announcement ensures affordable housing will be part of that future, with residents and families of all incomes having the opportunity to live in a vibrant community with easy access to transit, jobs, and higher education.”
“The arrival of light rail at Northgate presents a remarkable opportunity to create a community where families can live, work, and shop without ever getting behind the wheel,” said Executive Constantine. “By investing in affordable housing, we ensure Northgate continues to be an inclusive and diverse neighborhood, connected to the region by a fast and efficient bus and rail network, as well as bike and pedestrian improvements. This is how we can grow and meet our housing and transportation needs, now and into the future.”