With outstanding green infrastructure and transit access, this Seattle development could be a model for towns everywhere
Leave it to a city famous for coffee and rain to produce possibly the best example of transit-oriented urbanism, natural public space, and green stormwater infrastructure I have ever seen. This Seattle redevelopment is green in so many ways that it is hard to know where to start.
Maybe we should start with the parking lot, because that's what the whole nine-acre site was before redevelopment began. Ugly. Horrible for the environment. A complete waste of urban space.
The site is in an area that is transitioning from automobile-oriented and suburban in feel to walkable and lively. It sits just south of the Northgate shopping mall, northeast of a community college, a couple of blocks east of the I-5 freeway, and just west of an area of single-family homes. It is transit-rich, however, just a block from a major bus transfer station (with planned light rail access). With better amenities and some investment, the potential for smart, green redevelopment is immense.
Enter the city of Seattle, with a sophisticated initiative to bring long-buried Thornton Creek back to life above the surface, where it belongs. Add lots of carefully planned nature (not really an oxymoron when we're dealing with a city), arranged to be highly walkable and educational as well as environmentally beneficial. The creek restoration was led under contract to the city by Seattle's SvR Design, which previously designed the landscape and green infrastructure features of the much-celebrated, mixed-income High Point development, also in Seattle.