: projects + programs


Recognizing that the term "livability" has many different definitions and interpretations, the Center's programs will be focused on how the fields of urban planning and design, landscape architecture, and architecture work within this broader context to address livability factors. Research in the center is directed towards:

  • Identifying, studying, and documenting aspects of livability in communities
  • Deriving principles of livability from observed experiences, as well as new approaches developed by professionals and academics
  • Making explicit the connection between decisions affecting the built environment and aspects of livability in communities
  • Revealing means of achieving those principles, and their connection to quality of life

In order to promote awareness of the fundamental connections between quality of life and ecology, long-term economic vitality, affordable housing, social vibrancy, diverse transportation options, and a coherent and integrated urban fabric, the work of the Northwest Center supports decisions surrounding the shape, function, and potential of the built environment on the following principles:

  • Compact development, to support vibrant, layered urban centers and public spaces, social interaction, and diverse transport options.
  • Diverse transportation systems, including safe walking and biking options, and efficient public transport
  • Preserved public and private spaces, including open spaces, sources of natural beauty, and historic and cultural resources in the landscape
  • Regional economic vitality, through a diversity of local employment possibilities
  • Protected ecological resources
  • Equitable access to services and opportunity
  • Diverse housing options, serving all segments of society
  • Coordinated action between diverse regional interests


: community partnerships

Open Space Seattle 2100 | Seattle, Washington

South Lake Union | Seattle, Washington
South Lake Union Urban Center Studio
South Lake Union Urban Form Studio

Jefferson Parish: Post-Hurricane Katrina | Jefferson Parrish, Louisiana

Pioneering Palmer's Future | Palmer, Alaska

Skykomish, Washington

Shoreline, Washington


: resource bank

The Northwest Center has developed a resource bank with information on livable communities, in order to:

  • showcase books, research papers, case studies, and articles, produced by the Center and other organizations
  • make available the tools and best practices used and developed by design and planning professionals
  • develop a neighborhood scale set of indicators with which to evaluate community livability