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American Society of Landscape Architects


August 2004 Issue

In Seattle, the Mother of All Charrettes
Three hundred designers convene to craft new visions of Seattle’s waterfront.

By Brice Maryman and Catherine Maggio

In Seattle, the Mother of All Charrettes
© EDAW 2004

Flanked by frosted mountains and situated along a graceful arc in the Puget Sound estuary, Seattle’s central waterfront boasts one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world. Yet the Emerald City’s waterfront is a forgotten landscape—an assemblage of gaudy tourist shops, deteriorating creosote piers, and ill-defined spaces that are cut off from the rest of the city by a double-decker highway. The imminent removal of this state thoroughfare has sparked unprecedented urban planning efforts to seek extensive public input on how the waterfront might be reshaped. By having citizens help at the conceptual design phase, Seattle is educating, energizing, and engaging its design community and the city at large.

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