Georgetown Live-Work District
Signal is leading a community-focused urban design vision that will build a resilient community through affordable placemaking and placekeeping in Georgetown, Seattle. Our focus with community leaders centers design for people and community through a comprehensive master plan, design guidance, workspace programming, and a bold arts initiative.
The Georgetown Community Development Authority (GCDA) is a community-based nonprofit that operates affordable artist and artisan work spaces in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. At the core of the GCDA is Equinox Studios, which has operated in Georgetown since 2006 to provide a creative home for over 125 artists and artisans working in and across many crafts and disciplines. Expanding on this achievement, the GCDA has set out to create a Live-Work Arts District, a 7-block hub of workforce housing and community-serving workspaces making space for 2,000 affordable residences over ten years. The project goal is to cultivate long-term community wealth through thoughtful real estate acquisition and development, community engagement and ownership, space for small businesses, nonprofits, and artists, combined with programming that builds relationships.
The district plan does not displace existing industry – new workshop spaces are created and community-serving commercial services and workspaces are increased at the ground-level. Pedestrian laneways carve through the ground floors of new buildings, creating unique opportunities for the small-scale workshops, services, and live / work units to enrich the pedestrian realm. The ground-floor will also activate the streetscape with commercial spaces providing daily life amenities that are currently missing from the Duwamish River Valley: grocery, financial, healthcare, and childcare services. In addition to these neighborhood amenities, the commercial spaces invite cultural, community, and non-profit groups to Georgetown.
Georgetown is in the heart of the Duwamish Valley, on the land of the Duwamish People, who lived in the rich valley for thousands of years. Georgetown is the oldest settlement in the Seattle area, founded in 1851. The oldest streets are aligned to the original Duwamish River meander–the Duwamish was straightened in the early 1900s–with some buildings and trees dating back to this era. Due to its riverfront proximity, the area became a hub of industry, with workforce housing growing around Seattle’s southern industrial core. Fast-forward to today, the neighborhood is a juxtaposition between remnants of the old Georgetown neighborhood (an original Seattle live-work neighborhood) and large-scale industrial buildings. This abundance of industrial buildings, flexible spaces and affordable rents has provided niches for a vibrant artists community.
Currently, there are approximately 28,000 jobs and 1,800 living units in Georgetown. Industry is integral to the function and life of cities, fostering wide-ranging employment opportunities. Density focused where people live and work in the same place promotes a seamless relationship between residents, customers, and employers that is less reliant on cars and promotes an affordable, in-city way of living–an opportunity that is becoming more scarce as rents and property values increase.
Industrial zones support a range of occupations, cultures, and needs. Development examples that bridge this context in Seattle are rare, threatening the diverse opportunities that zones like the C1-75 zone present. The opportunity for community-facing commercial spaces, including services, provisions, and manufacturing will serve not only the current residents of Georgetown, but will also provide necessary resources for this evolving neighborhood as a live-work hub for the city.
Artists are a key component to the vision, making, exhibiting, and selling art in the district. Please visit the Call for Artists HERE.