Outside Citywide

Public Space Explorer

This tool will allow you to explore our existing network of public spaces and will also help illuminate areas of the city where that network could be expanded or improved to move Seattle toward a more equitable future.


The Importance of Public Space to a Thriving City

Outside Citywide is a collaborative initiative to create a flourishing, equitable, well-connected network of public green spaces across Seattle. Public spaces are critical infrastructure for the health and well-being of our communities and environment. Access to public outdoor space gives city-dwellers opportunities to relax, exercise, play, connect with nature, and safely gather with friends and family.

Through partnerships and innovation, Outside Citywide identifies priority areas and key strategies to improve public space at the city scale, while also testing and improving these strategies by implementing projects at the neighborhood scale. We work with youth and community leaders to create public spaces that tackle environmental and climate injustice while also celebrating and bolstering cultural and community identities.

Equity and Environmental Justice

Past City policies and investment decisions have created and perpetuated significant racial disparities in access to green space and safety from environmental harms. Unhealthy environmental conditions (like air pollution) and vulnerability to climate risks (such as sea level rise) disproportionately impact communities of color and lower-income residents. Future green investments should focus on addressing these disparities and improving the health and safety of frontline communities. However, we also must be very mindful of how we do this work to avoid green gentrification-the heightened displacement risk that can result from new parks or green amenities. By working closely with communities, we can identify strategies to avoid unintended harms. Simultaneously investing in both people and places, and co-delivering public space alongside jobs, affordable housing, education, and other opportunities, can help to ensure that our communities are able to thrive in place.

Climate Resiliency

We have already begun to experience the impacts of climate change in this region. Witnessing our skies completely blackened by wildfire smoke has become a seasonal occurrence. And these impacts will only worsen in the coming years. Sea level rise will begin to threaten shorelines, especially along the Duwamish. Dense, paved urban areas will face more dangerous extreme heat events. We need to develop solutions that use public space to protect shorelines, divert flood waters away from homes and businesses during big storms, and help cool the city during heat waves. Through this initiative, we explore how public space infrastructure not only provides outdoor recreation space, but also protects our community from floods, heat, and other climate impacts.

Resources for Addressing Green Gentrification

Graphic that says "Sharing in the Benefits of a Greening City " with a photo of a building covered in gardens and plant growth.

Sharing in the Benefits of a Greening City by the CREATE Initiative

A graphic that reads "Policy and Planning Tools for Urban Green Justice" on the bottom. The top half of the graphic contains a photo of a building with art on it that looks like a school of fish.

Policy and Planning Tools for Urban Green Justice by BCNEUJ

Graphic of a family of three, two parents and one child, standing on a pier, looking out at the water. A transparent sideways triangle that mimics a video "play" button is in the middle of the image.

Our Community. Our Process. Our Plan. by 11th Street Bridge Park

An animated gif of 5 photos of people gathered at public cultural events, parks and outdoor markets. They are placed on a green layer of transparency.

Planning and Community Development

Rico Quirindongo, Director
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 94788, Seattle, WA, 98124-7088
Phone: (206) 386-1010

The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) develops policies and plans for an equitable and sustainable future. We partner with neighborhoods, businesses, agencies and others to bring about positive change and coordinate investments for our Seattle communities.