Seattle’s central waterfront will change dramatically in the coming years, opening up new vistas and opportunities. With much of the major restructuring done (State Route 99 is now a tunnel under downtown Seattle), the focus is on how to make the 26-block central waterfront a game-changing legacy project that serves as a model for other public legacy ventures in the years to come. We are excited to be devoting our 2019 Thought Forum, taking place March 6, to exploring just that, in partnership with Friends of Waterfront Seattle, Pike Place Market Foundation, Salish Sea Institute, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Foundation. All these organizations are deeply connected to the civic life of Seattle and directly involved in making the Seattle waterfront a public space that reflects community values in terms of economic development, environmental stewardship and social equity – truly a waterfront for all.
As landscape architect for the Seattle Waterfront Park, James Corner said this about the waterfront designs he presented at LNWM’s 2015 Thought Forum: “These are all pretty pictures. But they are hard to pull off, and you can’t take execution for granted.” In other words, just because a public space is designed well doesn’t mean it will be well-used by the community. Executing on the vision for the Seattle waterfront is what LNWM’s 2019 Thought Forum is about.
Candace Damon, vice chairman of HR&A Associates, is an expert on the elements of well-planned and executed public spaces and the economic and society benefits they can achieve. She will present findings from the Seattle Waterfront Park: Value Study that will be released for the first time at this event. Her presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on how to activate the waterfront and make it a place that reflects Seattle values economically, environmentally and societally. Panelists include Martha Konsgaard, President of Konsgaard-Goldman Foundation, Tony Mestres, President of the Seattle Foundation, and Beto Yarce, Executive Director of Ventures, a non-profit that provides wide-ranging support for low-income entrepreneurs.
It should be a thought-provoking evening that activates new thinking on timely topics. That, after all, is the mission of the LNWM Thought Forum. LNWM has deep roots in the Pacific Northwest, and we understand the importance of strengthening our local community. For us, this means committing time and funding, as well as directly participating in initiatives that have a positive impact on the Seattle area: Pianos in the Parks, the King County Parks Foundation, and now the transformation of Seattle’s waterfront.