Archive Page 2

Collective Mischief, Urban Layering

by Caroline Barmes

Location: Post Alley at Pike Place; Gum wall @1428 Post Alley

The site I’m looking at is a stretch of Post Alley starting 30 feet south of Pike’s Place and extending for the next 1/2 block. It is quite a slim passageway, at points as narrow as 15’. It is a one way, cobblestone street accommodating single cars, but each time I’ve visited there has been only pedestrian movement. The portion of the block closest to Pike’s Place actually passes through the side of a building, creating a dim, sheltered tunnel. The site is interesting due to two distinct features: a mural of gum on the east side of the street by the Market Theater; and on the west side, underneath and emerging from the protected tunnel, is a long wall covered in years of accumulated posters and paste-ups.

Both of these features are interesting because they represent the self expression of multiple authors; a group process creating textured and varied landscapes. The walls are a layered record of the site’s history, as passersby and local artists alike contribute spontaneously stuck gum wads or carefully drafted paste-ups. The combinations and juxtapositions created with the paste-ups and the spectacle of the long gum mural contribute to the neighborhood’s eclectic character, inspire wonder and delight, and add to the street theater of human interaction.


Urban Clues along the Burke-Gilman

by Eric Streeby

Location: 15th Avenue and Pacific Street

Along a 3.5 mile stretch of the Burke Gilman Trail that extends from the intersection of 15th Avenue and Pacific Street on the west end of the UW campus to a location 2.5 miles north of the UW Intramural Activity Center, a careful observer can identify numerous small-scale human alterations to the landscape. This collection of small-scale interventions takes the form of stickers, spray-painted stencils, and artifacts. These artifacts, when examined as a whole, can be seen as examples of everyday urbanism, landscape narrative, and a landscape of events.

WANTED: Community Characters


by Claire Beyer

Location: various

The urban environment communicates in unseen ways. For some the pleasure of living in the city is an unexpected conversation on the bus. Sometimes this conversation occurs while waiting in line, for a show, a movie, a bathroom. It may not be verbal; it may be a pushpin and a business card. The urban bulletin board offers insight into a city, a neighborhood, a clientele. The bulletin board may be at your local grocery store, coffee shop, or pub. Postings offer babysitting, dog walking, free dirt, and more. Each day postings are added, read, and removed. Some may not reveal their skill, but simply offer a name and email address. This network of postings communicates the character of a neighborhood and its businesses. It offers the passersby a chance to meet a new neighbor and engage in a silent dialogue.

Development of Seattle Central Waterfront

by Linda Pham

Location: Union Street and Alaskan Way

The Seattle Central Waterfront has gone through a long history of development and change. Since its construction began during the building of the city of Seattle, the waterfront has come to encompass many different activities; it first was a port for trade that would fuel the economy of Seattle; later it would be a place for recreational activities and tourist attractions. Today, the waterfront is an integration of historical places and contemporary buildings. Seattle’s city planning problems of today, including the Alaskan Way viaduct, is a major influence on the waterfront, and the decisions made by our officials and voters could affect it in a positive or very negative way.

Urban Balconies

by Mac Lanphere

Location: various.

Over the quarter I have developed a case study of urban balconies on residential multi-story buildings. These spaces are truly micro-urban, serving a variety of functions both preconceived and unintended. Above eye level for the pedestrian, these spaces can easily be overlooked, and so should serve as a valuable addition to the “Guidebook for Seattle Micro-Urbanism.”

The attached photographs of balconies taken throughout winter quarter are from the dense Seattle neighborhoods of Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Rainier Valley and Magnolia. The cold weather makes these drafty perches somewhat less hospitable, and the photos do not show residents out enjoying these amenities. But in the attached essay I will explore, with help from the course readings, the possibilities and limits of these spaces.

Like the middle-class suburban garage, some balconies tend to pile up with outdoor gear. Many have potted plants, providing a bit of nature high above the asphalt roads and concrete sidewalks below. They often feel cramped, as if the developer or architect simply checked off “balcony” on the list of accoutrements necessary for speedy sale or rental of units. But the balcony offers the city resident a retreat from the urban environment––a place where individuality and identity can be restored and even expressed.

The in between spaces

by Wendy Tsao Hoffman

Location: Fremont Ave N, between N 34th Ave and N 35th St.

Between the quaint stores and restaurants in Fremont lies a micro-urbanism space we all experienced before, the alleyway, a space that defines the separation of two structures. Frequently Alleyways are seen as left over space, exists only to make a physical break and where unpleasant activities like bumping waste occur. However, this small space is an important “everyday urban environment”; it contains characteristics and activities that are pertinent to our daily lives. Instead of hiding its existence, Freemont utilize the alleyway space and made it functional which in turn gives the space its own character. I explore two alleyways facing each other but separated by the Fremont St., the main road that consist most vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The alleyways are a continuation of each other due to the way blocks were grided, however, they possess very different qualities and traits due to the surrounding environment. The alley to the right of Fremont St. is located between a local Tai restaurant and the Sonic Boom record store. It is line with numerous dumpsters along the wall of the restaurant, however, Sonic Boom also use the alley way as the entrance to the annex of the record store. On the opposite side of the street, the appearance of the alley way is dramatically different then the one formerly described. Situated between Blue Sea Sushi and Starbucks, both well know enterprises, Starbucks then took the chance to turn the alley way into a pleasant space for their customers, putting chair and tables there to make it pedestrian friendly. The attempt is to compare the characteristics of the individual alleyways and further explore the possibility of creative reuses and transformation of this space in the future.

Parking Lot Patio

by Aaron Newhouse

Location: Princeton Ave NE & Sand Point Way NE

The Parking Lot Patio is a unique space that is heavily influenced by the surrounding elements, the activities that go on around it, and its location in the parking lot. There are 11 stores in its vicinity, with Gretchen’s Place and City People’s Mercantile having the biggest influence on the patio. There is also a bus stop directly adjacent patio.

The site contains a water fountain clock tower, two round tables, seven chairs, one picnic table, one double-wide flat bench, four signs, and an open faced shelter with two benches and two pin boards inside and a planter around two sides of the outside.

Initial impressions of the site were that it is aesthetically pleasing, provides some amenities, a place to sit down, and acts as a center piece for the shopping area; however, observation only verified some of those pieces. This patio was rarely used and did not function very well in its location. Pedestrians were not accommodated very well throughout the site. The patio has to potential to act as a center piece and hub; however, it only accomplished this visually and not functionally.

Micro Urbanism

The term “micro-urbanism” describes small-scale urban spaces and design interventions that enable a wide variety of activities, events, processes and functions to take place. It also involves ways to reinterpret the urban landscape. As a class project, the purpose for creating this Guide is to bring attention to aspects of our everyday environment that are important but often neglected parts of the urban experiences.

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