Seattle – what is the future of the waterfront?

16 10 2009

The WA state and local governments have agreed to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel under downtown. NEWS LINK

Once upon a time, Seattle’s Puget Sound shoreline consisted of continuous intertidal beaches and undisturbed habitats. While we cannot restore the downtown zone to the original state, we can build a new waterfront with a seawall that smartly responds to the ecosystem as well as brings life to downtown with a strong connection to the water.

Seattle now has an incredible opportunity to be at the forefront of sustainable waterfront urban design. What will our waterfront become?

This study specifically focuses on how the Alaskan Way Seawall will be rebuilt. SDOT will replace the rotting wood seawall, which poses an incredible opportunity to build something environmentally friendly that connects the person to the water.

My main goal is to educate the general public on the benefits the seawall can bring to Seattle and to not let SDOT rebuild another vertical concrete seawall. My travels will focus on studying three components of the seawall:

How can the seawall re-establish the existing habitat? I recently met with Jeff Cordell, Principal Research Scientist at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at UW. He has partnered with City of Seattle to study how to make the inhospitable Seattle shoreline homier for salmon and other marine life. This is a first step in what I hope will be many to make the seawall a livable place for marine animals. See: NEWS LINK

How can the local organizations in Seattle and abroad contribute their research and knowledge to make this seawall the best it can be? The ball has begun rolling and many local organizations have taken the first step to get involved politically to make the seawall an important issue as the waterfront is being designed. Organizations such as the AIA, UW Fishery and Sciences, City of Seattle, DPD, SDOT, People’s Waterfront Coalition, Puget Sound Partnership, People for Puget Sound,  Allied Arts, and many others have gathered information that will be valuable in the research of a new seawall. I have made contacts with many people in these organizations and I hope to be able to document their findings as the process goes along. This study/blog will serve as a point to interview, summarize, and assign roles to the different political characters involved.

How can the seawall benefit the community as a connector between downtown and the water as well as an educational tool for environmentally-friendly seawalls?

This is an exciting time in the city of Seattle and I hope this blog will help document the process.

Write your opinion at: Our Seattle Waterfront

I will be posting new blogs often so keep posted!




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