Apr 23, 2010

Holding Patterns - interim uses for stalled project sites

Seattle's Design Commission is looking for creative ideas to turn empty lots into something good while they wait for development to restart. Here's their press release:

What if you could feed wallabies in downtown Seattle?

Have you noticed how many lots have been left empty or partially developed due to the stalled economy? These vacant project sites are all around us. Unattractive and unbecoming of our city, we pass by them every day: empty holes, barren plains of gravel, voids in the city fabric. How can we convert these eyesores to opportunities?

The Seattle Design Commission wants your ideas for Holding Patterns, interim uses for stalled project sites. We are seeking your concepts to transform the following types of stalled project sites around the city:

holes in the ground surface lots ongoing construction above or below street level

Whether a concert space or a bumper car track, basketball hoops or a fleeting performance stage, from temporary to semi-permanent, wacky, practical or both, the Design Commission is welcoming any and all ideas. Artists, designers, non-profits, businesses, developers, students, astronauts, everyone is invited to contribute ideas. Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged.

Deadline: Monday, May 24th, 2010 Your submission should include the following:

a brief narrative including rationale, goal, purpose, program, and design intent the location, if specific (all city-wide locations are acceptable) a site plan and/or images that communicate your ideas Maximum of four 8.5” x 11” single-sided pages per site category

There will be a follow up implementation workshop for selected ideas, so please be prepared to make a two minute pitch for potential partners who are able to help make your ideas a reality.

Submit via e-mail to Valerie.Kinast@seattle.gov a pdf formatted file and in the body of the email the names/backgrounds of participants and contact information for one person. Please put “Holding Patterns” in the subject line. 6 MB maximum file size.

Personally, I love this idea, because it sounds like the city is opening up the possibility of quite diverse, off-the-wall land uses, and I find a lot of what's been built in the last couple of years a bit bland and overregulated.
Professionally, this fits several of Sustainable Seattle's priorities, because it makes land use more efficient, adds a very open piece to the city planning process, lets the community say more about land use, and has the potential to make some currently blighted parts of the streetscape much more attractive. And of course, any entry to this competition would be good source material to start an entry to our Dream a Sound Future competition from.

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