Common Ground

For years, Seattle has been ranked as one of the fastest growing large cities in the US. This growth has presented challenges to maintain livability standards, especially when it comes to the need for increased urban density. While demolition and construction are ways to address this issue, many citizens react negatively to the changing fabric of their neighborhood—regardless of potential benefits. Studies in community and environmental psychology show that the earlier citizens are brought into the development process, the likelier they are to view the proposed project as a positive change. Currently, the city of Seattle’s  “Design Review” program allows citizens to do just that—but some find it confusing, time consuming, or simply don’t know that it exists. This project tracked the steps in the current process and identified opportunities to better engage the public in the development and construction of future multi-family and commercial buildings.

Erin Wilson