Case Study: Commercial Gentrification in the Pike/Pine Corridor
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The Pike/Pine corridor is a vibrant, densely populated area within the greater Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. The area has distinct architectural character due to its history as Seattle’s auto-row. After much of the auto industry left the area, a number of the buildings that previously housed automobile-related businesses were converted into affordable artist lofts. Concurrently, Seattle’s LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community established itself on Capitol Hill. In the 1990s, the area became the center for grunge music. Low rents made Pike/Pine an attractive area for young entrepreneurs to experiment, and as a result, the area came to boast a diverse mix of gritty, unique businesses that contribute to a distinct local character. In the past decade, there has been extensive real estate development activity in Pike/Pine. In 2009, Seattle created the city’s first conservation district in Pike/Pine in an attempt to manage change and protect neighborhood character. There is a public perception that the neighborhood is gentrifying and that its quirkiness and grittiness are being diluted. Working within the academic context of gentrification and neighborhood character, this work presents four redevelopment projects in Pike/Pine in order to clarify the phenomenon that people are observing and evaluate the efficacy of the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District (PPCOD) as a tool to preserve neighborhood character.
- Urban planning