Activating Our Downtown Parks & Public Spaces

Reimagining our downtown parks through advocacy and activation

Well-managed parks and public spaces are a key ingredient for a vibrant public realm. In 2014, the Downtown Seattle Association partnered with the Alliance for Pioneer Square, Waterfront Seattle, Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Parks Foundation to take a look a how our parks could further elevate our downtown urban experience. With generous funding from public and private partners, we examined best practices from parks across the globe. With a strategy in hand, DSA led an effort in 2016 to negotiate a management agreement with the city of Seattle to activate both Westlake and Occidental Square parks, year-round.

Today, DSA has a five-year agreement to manage these parks and other pocket public spaces throughout downtown. The 2016 results speak for themselves:

  • Both Westlake and Occidental Square parks continue to see increasing numbers of observed park visitors.
  • Occidental Square saw a 30-percent year over year increase in observed park visitors.
  • Westlake Park saw a six-percent increase in year over year observed park visitors.
  • Occidental Square saw a nine-point increase in park visitors who felt the space was clean, and a 13-point increase in those who found the space to be welcoming.
  • Similarly, Westlake saw a seven-point increase in park visitors who felt the park was clean and a six-point increase in perceptions of safety.

For more information about our work in the parks, follow this link to the Parks & Public Space Program or contact Vice President, Public Space Operations & Events, Jennifer Casillas: