Seattle, WA (2007-2008)

Client: Triad Civic Center, LLC.


Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is the public space consultant for the new Seattle Civic Square project being designed by architect Foster + Partners and landscape architect Atelier Dreiseitl. The one-block site, across from the new Seattle City Hall, will accommodate office space, residential units, restaurants, retail opportunities and open space that will attract a diverse population and give new vitality to the neighborhood.

This public-private partnership is being developed by Triad Civic Center, LLC on City-owned property. A tower housing the offices, residences, and ground-level retail will occupy the northern edge of the block. Along the southern perimeter will be a two-story retail building. Contained between these buildings will be a new public plaza that will welcome both daily activities and larger programmed events. Seattle Civic Square will also serve as a transit stop for the city’s new light rail system.

Located in the civic heart of downtown, Seattle Civic Square plaza has abundant potential to become a major destination in Seattle through thoughtful design, diverse programming, quality retail options and active management. This public space will serve as the city’s front porch—welcoming all of Seattle’s citizens and visitors—as well as the catalyst that unites the surrounding downtown neighborhoods. The plaza will provide valuable open space, a venue for the city to gather at civic celebrations and additional momentum to the transformation being experienced in the area.

PPS engaged local stakeholders in the creation of an Activation Plan, which contains specific programming ideas for the 11 different public spaces of Seattle Civic Square for different times of the day, week and year. PPS is involved in ongoing design reviews in order to accommodate this detailed program and help Seattle Civic Square become a beacon of activity and life.

The success of Seattle Civic Square, however, as an active civic gathering space for the City of Seattle will depend, above all, on its management. This square will be the most actively programmed and managed open space in downtown, shared by a broader group of users and stakeholders. Using best practice models for public space management and input from key stakeholders, PPS crafted an Operations and Management Plan for Seattle Civic Square. This plan compares potential management structures for the programming and maintenance of the development’s public spaces and ultimately proposes a new non-profit organization. This Seattle Civic Square Conservancy will ensure that Seattle Civic Square realizes its potential and successfully meets the growing and evolving needs of the city.