Seattle’s Waterfront: An Exploration in Site Analysis
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On February 28, 2001, the Nisqually Earthquake shook the Seattle Waterfront, damaging the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a north/south state highway running along the waterfront. The damage to the Viaduct initiated a larger conversation about the use of this valuable space. The future of the Seattle Waterfront was in question, leaving the people of Seattle to come up with an alternative design for the waterfront inclusive of people, transportation of goods, economics, and Seattle's growing population. After an extraordinary decade-long public engagement effort, the conceptual design for the waterfront was completed in 2012 by James Corner Field Operations team (JCFO). The JCFO design considers the central waterfront but does not introduce new design ideas or connections to the northern and southern portions of the waterfront. In this thesis, I investigated the existing waterfront and the JCFO conceptual design to understand the current conditions and planned future for the central waterfront. I use an exploratory site analysis approach created by Jack Alderman paired with a method designed by Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha to comprehend the waterfront, selecting three sites as my focus areas for the exploration. The exploration allowed me to analyze the site through diagrammatic techniques and exploratory mapping and create a better understanding of my site analysis process as a planner and designer.
- Urban planning