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Placemaking and Public Space Activation
Ed Pottharst, Karen Selander, Allynn Ruth, Conference Speakers

Learn how Seattleā€™s neighborhoods are creating public spaces and activating them using the Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) program. Hear about projects large and small, from $1,000 to $3,000,000, from creating neighborhood plazas in small bits of undeveloped right of way, building parklets in parking spaces, to opening storefronts and creating beautiful gathering places full of art in once crime - ridden downtown historic alleys. In this interactive session we will discuss the strategies used to create iconic places in Seattle such as the Fremont Troll, and new spaces recently redefined and activated such as Nord Alley in the Pioneer Square Neighborhood. We will also tell the stories of new places being built such as Jimi Hendrix Park, or the just opened Gateway in the Columbia City neighborhood. We will review findings from a recent Public Spaces Study conducted in Seattle by Gehl Architects from Denmark, looking at how this study helped kick-start widespread community interest in placemaking and public space activation. We will describe how the long-time Neighborhood Matching Fund program has supported this interest to create collaboration between the City and the community to realize creation and activation of many public spaces in Seattle.

We will also give examples of how community building is core to project success: showing that the process of bringing people together and building relationships is consistently as important as other project outcomes.


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