Neighborhood Networks and the Decision-Making Processes in a Distressed Social-Built Environment: A Case Study in Lake City (Seattle), Washington
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The stresses caused by rapid urbanization in the Greater Seattle area have reignited the importance for neighborhood associations, citizens, health and human service providers, parks and recreation, and the local government to work together, through resource collaboration, to promote livable and thriving communities. In this case study, I describe the neighborhood ecology of the Lake City community utilizing four objectives to understand the urban planning and community building processes. This first objective was to understand the impact of the neighborhood urban design and planning process, led by the local government and private developers, in the urban core of Lake City. This was accomplished by analyzing the historical and operative dynamics of the urban design and planning processes, to then understand the impacts of the neighborhood planning by various stakeholders in the urban core. The second objective was to understand how a community-oriented design and planning processes might affect the level of citizen engagement within the neighborhood, finding, surprisingly that it increased stress in residents and neighborhood leaders. The third objective was to assess if increased social engagement can promote increased social cohesion and decrease perceptions of fear and unsafe zones within the neighborhood. Examples of small events that promoted positive engagement included trash cleanups and father's day events, and although there were of positive impact, there was a limit as to how far these resident-led projects changed the internal and external urban planning process. The fourth and final objective was to assess if empowering the Lake City neighborhood associations would improve the decision-making process required for the neighborhood design of the urban core. Despite the historic distrust of the city, third generation Lake City residents still have the willingness to work with external stakeholders, but it is unclear if this decision to work with external stakeholders will be a long-term positive influence.
- Built environment