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2005 International District Open Space

Located in South Downtown Seattle, the Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon -International District is one of the city’s most historically important neighborhoods. It has been the hub of Asian American communities in the Pacific Northwest since the late 1800’s. Today, it continues to support a vibrant community of multiethnic residents and businesses, as well as those who have moved out of the district but maintain strong collective and personal ties. Like many parts of the city, the district is currently faced with a series of imminent changes that can significantly influence its future livability as a community of diverse cultures and populations. They include increase in housing density, changes of current land use zoning, and new and expanded transportation and other development projects. What can the community do to respond to these coming changes?

As part of the service-learning curriculum in the Department of Landscape Architecture at University of Washington, this studio investigated ways to enable the community to maintain and improve its livability and culturally diversity. Specifically, it focused on the development of a set of open space initiatives. In recognition of the diversity and complexity of the neighborhood, the studio worked on multiple areas within the district, with different stakeholders including organizations and residents. Students developed multiple strategies as well as holistic concepts to address the diverse needs in the community. They also developed creative ways to engage the community. The studio considered both the institutional and community building processes of creating open space. It examined ways through which open space supports a livable and diverse community and ensure these objectives and mechanisms are embodied in subsequent design and development.

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