PUBLIC LIFE PLAN
In 2019, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict embarked on holistic, equitable public life planning for Capitol Hill. Public life refers to the aspects of human activity which occur in public – the connections and interactions between people in public spaces as well as between people and public spaces. The quality of public life is determined by both the quality of those interactions and the quality of public space that supports them.
In assessing quality, we take a decolonized approach of criteria-setting and data collection that involves collaboration and co-creation, oral testimony and storytelling, and reality-testing with community members who experience the most impact from decision making. Thus far, this project's work has culminated in four reports: observational counts, a public space study, a porous public space study, and a pilots workshop.
In 2021, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict will launch a community engagement process and pilot projects to establish a Vision and Implementation Plan for Capitol Hill. This process will leverage the strength and creativity of the arts community of Capitol Hill to conceive of public spaces as cultural spaces and centers of community resilience. Sign up for our mailing list to receive updates on opportunities for dialogue and volunteering.
Our assessments and visioning will focus on four zones for their status as economic centers and for their proximity to upcoming developments:
Why Capitol Hill and why now?
Capitol Hill has a reputation as a well-resourced neighborhood, but that is not the story of many of its residents, 80% of whom are renters and many of whom live in affordable housing owned and operated by Community Roots Housing. That is also not the story of the workers in its struggling businesses and cultural organizations, the students at its schools, the folks who seek community at its many LGBTQ organizations, and that is certainly not the experience of the unsheltered people who linger in parks, along sidewalks, and in alleyways.
The following areas of concern give context to ways in which public life in Capitol Hill currently operates:
GROWTH VS. DISPLACEMENT
Small businesses, community organizations, and renters, especially those from already marginalized groups, face challenges brought by skyrocketing growth, which has spurred rising rents. These circumstances have been catastrophically intensified by COVID-19. These groups seek visibility and stability amid challenges like safety, construction, and increased expenses.
Special thanks to our partners:
Broadway Business Improvement Area
Cal Anderson Park Alliance
Capitol Hill Arts District
Capitol Hill Business Alliance, a program of the Greater Seattle Business Association
Central Seattle Greenways
Seattle 2030 District
Seattle Audubon Society
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation
Seattle Department of Transportation
Seattle Office of Arts and Culture