New Commissioners Sought for Seattle Design Commission

Mayor Ed Murray is looking for two new members for the Seattle Design Commission – an Urban Designer and Fine Artist, with terms beginning March 2016.

Commission members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council for up to two 2‐year terms. The 10‐member commission is comprised of architects, urban designers, environmental designers, urban planners, landscape architects, engineers, members‐at‐large, and one member from Get Engaged, the YMCA Young Civic Leaders Program.

Established in 1968, the Seattle Design Commission advises City officials on the design and environmental effects of capital improvement projects. Members also help select consultants for City projects. The Commission meets during the day on the first and third Thursdays of each month. In addition, members serve on project subcommittees and represent the commission on other advisory boards. Members work an average of 15 to 20 hours a month and cannot contract with the City on any capital improvement project reviewed by the commission. Commission members receive an hourly rate as compensation for their service.

To be considered, please send a letter of interest and resume by December 1, 2015, to:

Mayor Ed Murray c/o:
Michael Jenkins, Director – Seattle Design Commission
Department of Planning and Development
City of Seattle
700 Fifth Ave., Ste. 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, WA 98124‐4019

For more information, contact:
Michael Jenkins, Director – Seattle Design Commission
(206) 386-4024

“Designing the Equitable City” Workshop at the Seattle Design Festival

Designing the Equitable City
SEPTEMBER 19, 2015
10:45 am – 1:00 pm, Seattle Central Library
1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
Fourth Floor Room 1, Washington Mutual Foundation Meeting Room

Four agencies from the City of Seattle present a workshop on visioning an equitable city.

Cities are spaces where diverse cultures, experiences, backgrounds, traditions and ways of being converge. They are nests for creative expression and offer pathways for unique and dynamic opportunities. Yet, although diversity is a clear asset to all cities, not all communities reap the same benefits of what a city has to offer.

In the wake of recent events that bring into focus racial iniquities and tensions, and with on-going patterns of displacement, lack of affordable safe housing, lack of transportation, food deserts, and lack of green space in communities of color it’s clear that the cities we have created are not designed to serve everyone. The good news is that design is man-made so we all have a part to play in re-designing for cities that uplift people of all races.

The City of Seattle has made a commitment to work towards social equity with an emphasis on racial equity, across all departments. In this workshop you will hear from the City of Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Design Commission, Seattle’s Planning Commission and the Office of Arts and Culture as they share the role that we as designers, urban planners, and artists play in creating a new equitable vision for our cities. There will be a panel of commissioners, design professionals, artists and staff who will share what is happening at a city-wide level to realize the City’s commitment to building a racially equitable Seattle, followed by an interactive brainstorming breakout session where we will all explore our own individual roles in visioning and realizing a more inclusive home that serves all communities. There will be an opportunity to report out on the smaller-group discussions and share what we’ve learned from each other.

Speakers and facilitators will include:
Kirin Bhatti, Seattle Office for Civil Rights; Michael Austin, commissioner, Seattle Planning Commission; Vanessa Murdock, Executive Director, Seattle Planning Commission; Lee Copeland, commissioner, Seattle Design Commission; Ellen Sollod, Vice Chair, Seattle Design Commission; Valerie Kinast, coordinator, Seattle Design Commission; Leilani Lewis, Director of Marketing and Communications, Northwest African American Museum; Lara Davis, Arts Education Manager, Office of Arts & Culture; Ruri Yampolsky, Public Art Director, Office of Arts & Culture. Assisted by Payton Bordley, Racial Equity Liaison, Office of Arts & Culture.

Seattle Arena Approved by the Seattle Design Commission

After thoughtful consideration this morning, the Seattle Design Commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval of the proposed arena at 1700 1st Avenue South. This comes on the heels of a recommended approval by the Design Review Board earlier this week.

Since the arena proposal involves the closure of a street segment (Occidental Avenue South between Massachusetts and Holgate Streets), it required review and approval from the Seattle Design Commission through the street vacation process. The Commission’s review included assessing the function of the street system and how the street vacation impacts the remaining streets in the area. The Design Commission also evaluated the public benefits in exchange for the street closure.

The Commission will soon provide official feedback to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), which informs SDOT’s formal recommendation to City Council on whether or not to approve the street vacation. SDOT’s recommendation is anticipated to be completed and transmitted to City Council this fall.

The City Council will then hold a public hearing and will deliberate at one or more meetings before making a decision. Street vacation decisions go to the City Council’s Transportation Committee and then to Full Council for a final decision.

If the City Council grants the street vacation request, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will then publish the Master Use Permit decision for the arena, including mitigation of the impacts noted within the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) which DPD issued in May 2015. With the Boards & Commissions process complete, City staff will continue to review appropriate traffic mitigation measures and move towards a decision. DPD’s decision on the proposal is expected to occur in early 2016, pending Council action on the street vacation.

View the Seattle Arena permit timeline.

Seattle Design Commission Welcomes New Landscape Architect

The Design Commission has a new Landscape Architect. Rachel Gleeson is a Senior Associate at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), where she has worked since 2001. Her work engages a wide range of landscape types, including campuses, parks, and gardens. Notable projects include the Campus Landscape Framework for the University of Washington, the redesign of the North End of Union Square Park, Chelsea Cover of Hudson River Park, and the CRC Garden at Rockefeller University. She also supports a number of MVVA projects through design writing. Rachel’s written work includes an essay on MVVA’s urban plazas in Reconstructing Urban Landscapes, as well as other journal and magazine articles.

Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College of Columbia University. She holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Art in Art History from the University of Washington. She is a licensed landscape architect in Washington State.

2014 Design Commission Annual Report Available

In 2014, the Design Commission reviewed a total of 40 projects, plans, and permits valued at $7.6 billion. The Commission continued to review the Waterfront Seattle capital projects, hosted the 2014 Design Excellence Awards, and guided the design of two key elements of the SR 520 project. Serving as the City’s Light Rail Review Panel, the Commission also reviewed Sound Transit’s design and planning of light rail projects for the Northgate and East Link Extensions. For other highlights and details, see the Commission’s 2014 Annual Report.