Creating, Activating and Preserving Cultural Space

I am proud to present The CAP Report: 30 Ideas for the Creation, Activation, and Preservation of Cultural Space.

Seattle is a dynamic arts and culture center. With 800 independent arts and culture venues in the city where Seattle can dance, listen, see, think, and absorb the rich creativity that courses through the arts community and energizes the city at large, we are now nationally recognized as an arts leader.

Our breathtaking growth in recent years is a sign of that success, making it clear what a magnetic cultural hub we’ve become. However, our exponential growth has created challenges, including a serious strain on affordability. Ironically, the rising rents that have accompanied our success and growth, threaten the very cutting edge arts spaces and institutions that have made Seattle a dynamic destination city in the first place.

To address our housing affordability crisis, my unprecedented Housing Affordability and Livability (HALA) legislation requires developers to contribute to affordable housing whenever they build. By coupling growth and affordability with progressive public policy like HALA, we will grow as an inclusive and equitable city.

The arts are a vital component of the “Livability” in HALA’s policy mandate. Our mission to be an affordable, and therefore inclusive and equitable city, must emphasize the thriving arts culture that defines our community.

In 2014 I instructed various departments to work collaboratively with the Arts Office and to engage with the community to develop solutions to the root issues that confront us as a thriving cultural center. What you see here is the result of that work.

The ideas explored here to support Seattle’s invaluable arts community reflect a much broader commitment: Supporting Seattle’s arts is at its heart about supporting Seattle’s soul. And that means ensuring inclusion for the creative artists who make Seattle thrive.

We look forward to your support of this developing project, and to working with you to refine the ideas contained herein. Together we will build a more inclusive Seattle. We will build a more equitable Seattle. We will build a more resilient, more culturally rich, and more artistically vital Seattle. We will build the Seattle that Seattleites deserve.



Edward B. Murray

Proposed Updates to Design Review Program Are Now Available

Draft legislation to modify the design review program is available for public review and comment on our Design Review Program Improvements webpage and in the Land Use Information Bulletin. Comments will be open through Thursday, June 22.

Our proposed amendments to the Land Use Code (Title 23) are intended to improve the overall function of the program to enhance the efficiency and predictability of project reviews, improve dialogue among project stakeholders, and make the program more transparent and accessible to the public and project applicants. In addition, the changes would focus Design Review on the development projects most likely to influence the character of a neighborhood, and reduce the costs of building housing.  They build upon the recommendations in a report we released in March 2016.  This update is also a recommendation from the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda.

Key proposals in the legislation include:

  1. Simplify and raise the thresholds for projects subject to design review, switching from a variety of thresholds based on use, units, and zoning to simple square footage thresholds that respond to the complexity of a site and type of project.
  2. Create a new “hybrid” process that allows one phase of design review to be handled administratively and the remainder by the design review board.
  3. Require that all applicants for projects going through design review conduct outreach to the communities near their projects before they begin design review.

The legislation would also modify the composition of design review boards, eliminate the streamlined administrative design review process, modify the review process for exceptional trees in Title 25, and update and clarify other provisions related to design review.

We anticipate making final recommendations to the Mayor later in 2017.

An environmental (SEPA) decision on the draft legislation is also available.  This decision is subject to a comment and appeal period that runs until June 29.  Please submit comments on the proposal and the environmental decision to:

City of Seattle, SDCI
Attn: William Mills
P.O. Box 94788
Seattle, WA 98124-7088

If you have questions regarding the proposed code amendments please contact:

Christina Ghan
(206) 233-3749

Lisa Rutzick
(206) 386-9049

SE Community Meeting: Affordable Housing Neighborhood Maps & Other City Services

Come join us for casual conversation around proposed changes to your neighborhood to generate more affordable housing, improve transportation services, and parks investments. Snacks and drinks will be provided. All are welcome.

Saturday, February 4
10:00 a.m – 12:00 p.m.

The Royal Room
5000 Rainier Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98118

We will be sharing the following Urban Village maps:

  • Columbia City
  • North Beacon Hill
  • North Rainier Avenue
  • Othello
  • Rainier Beach


City Departments / Organizations in attendance:

  • Parks (2017 Development Plan, Brighton Playfield Renovation)
  • Seattle Department of Transportation / Seattle Department of Construction & inspections (Rapid Ride, Parking Reform, Greenways and ST3)
  • Ethics + Elections (Democracy Vouchers)
  • Office of Sustainability & Environment (Trees)


For more information, contact:
Jesseca Brand
(206) 733-9982

Community encouraged to provide input on 2017 Development Plan, Gap Analysis and Long-term Acquisition Strategies and learn about upcoming improvements for Brighton Playfield

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) invites the community to provide input on SPR’s 2017 Development Plan, Gap Analysis and Long-term Acquisition strategies for open space on Saturday, Feb 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at The Royal Room (5000 Rainier Ave. S) during a Housing Affordability and Livability (HALA) Open House.

This open house is being held in conjunction with other City departments and provides an opportunity for the community to learn about SPR’s walkability mapping and to give input on priorities for long-term open space acquisition goals. SPR will also present the schematic design for the Brighton Playfield renovation project.

The 2017 Development Plan is a 6-year plan that documents and describes SPR facilities and lands, looks at Seattle’s changing demographics, and lays out a vision for the future. A goal in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan is to consider access to our parks by transit, bicycle, and on foot when acquiring, siting and designing new park facilities or improving existing ones. SPR manages approximately 11% of the City’s land area, and is proposing a new mapping approach based upon walkability to inform the City’s long-term acquisition strategies for future open space.

 For more information on other Housing Affordability and Livability(HALA) community events and to see which City departments will be attending, please visit

For more information about our development plan please visit or contact Susanne Rockwell, Project Manager at or 206-684-7133, or 

For more information about Brighton Playfield renovation please visit or contact Jay Rood, Project Manager at or 206-733-9194.


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The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Announces HALA Outreach Events

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods invites you to join them, and other folks from the City, for food and conversation. This will be an opportunity for you to talk with city representatives, learn about proposals that may effect your neighborhood, and more.

The Department of Neighborhoods will be hosting five inclusive events in the next few months to talk with you about proposed neighborhood changes to create more affordable housing. Each gathering will also feature a handful of other City efforts ranging from parks and trees to transportation and democracy vouchers. The events will be a great one-stop shop for you to learn about a range of topics and share your feedback with the City. All are welcome!