Join me for a walking tour of the failed Seattle Commons project. The park was a proposed redevelopment plan for South Lake Union, the neighborhood now at the center of Seattle’s tech-fueled population explosion. It was narrowly voted down by Seattleites in the mid-1990's. Referred to as “Seattle’s Central Park,” the plan would have created a large urban park in the center of the neighborhood, which is now occupied by blocks of skyscrapers. We’ll tour the area, learning about the various development plans and major land transformations throughout South Lake Union’s history. You’ll hear about the political and economic trends that led to the Seattle Commons plan and its rejection by Seattle voters, and we’ll discuss the future of Seattle’s urban core in the wake of the current population boom.
South Lake Union (SLU) is the fastest-growing neighborhood in America's fastest-growing city.
However, if Seattle voters had voted slightly differently in the mid-1990s, it would have been a huge city park called the Seattle Commons. Despite what it could have become, SLU does have three public spaces: Denny Park, Cascade Park, SLU Park, which we will explore.
Hi, I’m Chris, a member of the Atlas Obscura community.
As a 10-year resident of Seattle, I've witnessed firsthand how my city has rapidly changed. When I moved here, I became acquainted with this region as an AmeriCorps volunteer, doing environmental restoration in Seattle's urban parks. I learned more about regional policy and planning processes as a graduate student at the University of Washington, where I earned a Master's degree in public administration. The failed Seattle Commons plan is an intriguing case study in urban planning and Seattle politics. I'm excited to offer a walking tour of this ambitious project, and I hope you'll join me!
For questions about this experience, please contact me directly through Airbnb.
The tour meets up in Denny Park and ends at Lake Union Park. This is a walking tour with a total distance of about 1.5 miles. Wear comfortable shoes and attire. We will walk rain or shine, so watch the weather and prepare accordingly.
I will provide printed maps and short informational packets.
- A snack
- Wear comfortable walking shoes
- Appropriate weather gear if necessary (umbrella, raincoat, etc.)
Any experience can be canceled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase. See cancellation policy.
There are 10 spots available on this experience.
Guests ages 18 and up can attend. Parents may also bring children under 2 years of age.