Urban Centers Planning

What's Happening Now?

Thank you for joining our Downtown Seattle Plan Workshop on Thursday, February 15. Your participation, concerns, and ideas mean a lot to this plan.

Over 120 of your neighbors attended the workshop and shared more than 540 ideas. It was clear that affordability, a healthy environment, and supportive services are top priorities for making Downtown a better place to live, work, play, and support the greater Puget Sound region.

Your insights, ideas, and perspectives are invaluable and will be instrumental in shaping the future of Downtown. We look forward to sharing a draft plan with you all for additional feedback online as we continue this important work together.

If you have any questions or comments, email Erica Bush at Erica.Bush@seattle.gov.

What is an Urban Center Plan?

Seattle’s Urban Centers — Downtown, Uptown, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill/First Hill, University District, and Northgate — are home to a significant share of Seattle’s residents and workers. We have begun the process of planning for each of our centers toward becoming more equitable, vibrant, and resilient places in the future. A more detailed description of this process can be found in our Background section, click on that tab for more information.

Currently, planning is underway for Downtown, Northgate, and Capitol Hill/First Hill, which means we are collecting data and engaging in important community conversations in these neighborhoods. The aim of this planning process is to capture a community vision rooted in previous and existing efforts that will guide city departments’ collaboration and investments, as well as develop neighborhood-specific policies for public services, transportation, economy, housing, and land use.

Upon completion of these three Urban Centers Plans, we will begin work on plans for Uptown, South Lake Union, and the University District.

Stayed tuned for future engagement opportunities. Email jesse.london@seattle.gov and erica.bush@seattle.gov for any questions you may have.

What is an Urban Centers Plan?

The designated Regional Centers — Downtown, Uptown, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill/First Hill, University District, and Northgate — are home to a significant share of Seattle’s residents and workers. We have begun the process of planning for each of our centers toward becoming more equitable, vibrant, and resilient places in the future.

Our process is grounded in city wide policy of the One Seattle Comprehensive Plan and the Puget Sound Regional Council adopted Regional Centers Framework.

Each planning process will include place-specific policies and the ability to focus investment and implementation tools guided by each community’s interests and visions for its own future — with an approach that integrates and plans for:

  • A collective 20-year vision
  • Environment, Climate change and adaptation to improve health equity and ecology
  • Public services to ensure facilities we plan for are consistent with growth
  • Transportation to promote connectivity
  • Economy to define what a thriving economy could look like long term
  • Housing to meet our future needs and avoid displacement
  • Land use and development patterns for long term resilience

What Will Plans Include?

The urban center planning processes will address community needs relating to the community topics below.

Environment and Climate Change and Adaptation: The history and current uses of each Urban Center impact how each Urban Center should invest in open spaces, adapt to climate, and reduce their impact on the environment. These unique conditions will be the basis for a series of policies and projects that will support a healthy, green community.

Housing: As the City grows, our housing should meet the needs of today’s residents while also planning for future growth. A look at housing availability, affordability, and size of housing will help to craft an approach to planning for future housing needs.

Land Use and Development Patterns: Land uses help to identify the types of experiences that support an active, vibrant community. As cities and communities change, land uses also need to adapt to meet those needs.

Market and Economy: Seattle hosts a wide range of different industries and markets - from the industrial waterfronts to retail districts and office buildings. This project will understand opportunities to expand access to economic opportunities and reduce the risk of displacement of small businesses.

Public Services: Utilities such as street lights and sewers to schools and libraries. For each Urban Center, these plans will identify how to best distribute resources to meet present and future needs and inequities.

Transportation: Everyone gets around their communities in different ways. These plans will evaluate how people move around and identify barriers and ways to improve access to important City destinations.

Equity Centered Engagement

The Downtown Plan uses a tool created by the City's Office of Civil Rights called the Racial Equity Toolkit (RET). This tool helps the City make a plan is fair and includes everyone. There are four goals using the RET that will change as the plan evolves. These goals are about making sure Downtown Seattle is fair for everyone when it comes to how the plan takes shape, where people live, the arts, and jobs. Keep reading to find out more about how these goals are shaping the plan, and you can also share your thoughts on each of these topics.

Process: There are clear and direct connections between the diverse lived experiences of Downtowners and the plan recommendations. The Downtown Plan policies and projects prioritize historically excluded communities.

Arts and Culture Representation: A thriving, creative community lives in, works in, and shapes the Downtown experience.

Access to Housing: Downtown offers diverse housing options that support where people are in their lives without creating a cost burden.

Access to Employment and Creating Businesses: Downtown is a center for businesses - of all sizes - that create financial opportunity and stability for entrepreneurs, owners and employees.

Our work began in late 2022 and will conclude by 2027.

  • 2023-2025: Downtown
  • 2023-2025: Northgate
  • 2023-2025: First Hill & Capitol Hill
  • 2026-2027: South Lake Union
  • 2026-2027: Uptown
  • 2026-2027: University District

Planning and Community Development

Rico Quirindongo, Director
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 94788, Seattle, WA, 98124-7088
Phone: (206) 386-1010

The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) develops policies and plans for an equitable and sustainable future. We partner with neighborhoods, businesses, agencies and others to bring about positive change and coordinate investments for our Seattle communities.