A river to forgive the town: resilience and reclamation of public space in South Park through temporary activation and community empowerment
Olson, Marta Suzanne
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Every person in Seattle has the right to equitable access of quality public green space and a healthy living environment. As a designer I have the ability and the duty to help implement this imperative. The South Park neighborhood has long endured environmental injustice, home to low-income, immigrant, and people of color populations who are exposed daily to environmental contaminants and suffer from a lack of quality green space. This document follows my exploration of community engagement and negotiations with public agencies in order to activate a temporary park on a land-banked site that will eventually be developed as the South Park Plaza Park. I have created a community tool-kit that synthesizes the various interests and feedback I received into an actionable set of steps that allows the community to utilize the space in different configurations for different purposes. Activating the site in the near-term will benefit community physical, mental, and social health as well as ecological health. Through hands-on activation, the community will be empowered to take ownership of the place and explore options that will inform their goals for the permanent park. The lessons learned can also be applied to future park development and interim activations of unused public property.