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2014 Neighborhood Design Studio


Winter Quarter 2014 | Greenwood-Phinney | Instructor: Julie Johnson


In January-March 2014, the University of Washington Landscape Architecture’s Neighborhood Design Studio focused on the Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood of Seattle to identify and envision ways of improving the neighborhood’s streets and open spaces. The Greenwood-Phinney Greenways group served as a key stakeholder for the 12 Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) students in this studio led by Associate Professor Julie Johnson.

The students learned about the neighborhood and gained insights on their design ideas from community members. They got underway by exploring and analyzing aspects of the neighborhood, identifying opportunities, and visiting local precedents. Students met with community members one evening in mid-January at the Greenwood Branch Library, to learn more about the neighborhood’s features and potentials. Community members were invited to three subsequent design discussions at UW’s Gould Hall, addressing initial design ideas, design schemes, and refined proposals.

As part of their initial scoping, the students identified three interrelated systems to address designs for a healthier Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood:

  • movement systems –to support safe and appealing pedestrian and bicycle networks;
  • civic systems –to engage diverse groups in shared play, learning and stewardship; and
  • ecological systems –to improve urban environmental conditions such as stormwater, habitat, and urban agriculture.

While each student undertook an individual design project, their work overlaps and connects with others’ projects spatially and programmatically. They sought to coordinate these relationships, to cross scales, and to suggest short term as well as longer range potentials. The projects include design proposals for certain streets to support walking and bicycling, such as greenways, as well as open space interventions to enrich ecological and community life towards a healthier neighborhood.

Following the studio’s presentations in March, a community member initiated potential for the studio to display their designs as part of the Phinneywood Art Walk May 9 and 10. Collaborating with community members, the studio transformed a vacant commercial space at the corner of N. 85th Street and Greenwood Avenue N. into a series of interactive exhibits augmented by Greenways and community venues. Visitors were encouraged to add “sticky note” comments on the students’ boards, to afford a visual conversation on the varied proposals. Greenways and community members provided information on Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, a children’s play space, a space for watching videos on improving streets, a comment wall for people to express their ideas for the neighborhood, and refreshments.

This booklet presents the students’ design proposals for a healthier Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood, as a resource and catalyst for continued community dialogue and action. The proposals have grown from feedback provided by community members, designers, others. We thank all who met with us to share and discuss ideas throughout the quarter and at the final presentations:

Community and Greenways Representatives (including designers):

Teresa Damaske
Cheryl Klotz
Justin Martin
Kate Martin
Gordon Padelford
Robin Randels
Jan Satterthwaite
Cathy Tuttle
Jim Walseth
and all who took part in the January 16 meeting at the Greenwood Branch Library.


Designers (not already listed above):

Michael Carey
Sue Costa
Melanie Davies
Andrea Fitch
Eric Higbee
Kristin Kildall
Clara Pang
Elizabeth Powers
Makie Suzuki
Victor Velarde
Fred Young


Agency and Organization Representatives:

Jen Cole
Lisa Quinn
Susanne Rockwell
Thomas Whittemore


UW Students, Faculty, Staff:

Leann Andrews
Ted Sweeney
Lynne Manzo
Ben Spencer
Ken Yocom
Julia Yu
Visiting scholar Yaping Zhang


Thanks from Neighborhood Design studio:

Gabriel Cash
Luna Cheng
Wesley Chiu
James Day
Sara Hakanson
Kyle Kurokawa
“Evan” Yuan Lin
Mickala Loeffelbein
Connor McGarry
Ali Masterson
Autumn Nettey
Aimee Rozier
–Julie Johnson, Associate Professor