Urban Commons Lab

U District Complete Open Space

Working with community stakeholders, this neighborhood design studio investigated open space design strategies to address the opportunities and challenges in the fast-growing University District in Seattle. In the coming years, 22 towers could make up the district’s skyline. Over 40 mid-rise and low-rise buildings could be added. A majority of the developments consist of Small Efficiency Dwelling Units (SEDU) targeting the student housing market. The University of Washington (UW) will also build 150 affordable housing units for faculty and staff, not to mention new buildings for offices, classrooms, and labs.

Given the magnitude of changes, the U District needs an integrated approach to address the need for open space, social life, and economic activities that support the existing community, including a large proportion of BIPOC-owned businesses, as well as student populations. The studio coincided with the planning process for a proposed Green Street project on NE 42nd Street between Brooklyn Ave and 15th Ave NE. It further engaged in a broader analysis of challenges facing the district and examine the possibilities of additional open space inventions in the district to respond to a broader set of current and future challenges.

L ARCH 404 Advanced Studio (Autumn 2022). Studio Instructor/ Jeff Hou. Community Partners/ U District Advocates and U District Partnership. Students/ Rhianne Bohn, Yuting Cai, Lu He, Ray Jia, Mateo Kumasaka, Jessie Lin, Jimmy Sund, Kathy Tam, Kathryn Vander Griend, Bing Wan, Julia Wood, Sinong Wu, Joe Yan.