An interactive tool just released by the city is a step toward transparency as building continues to boom.
Seattle is in the midst of a historic construction boom—that’s obvious to anyone who’s seen the city’s crane-obscured skyline. The Downtown Seattle Association reported earlier this month that there are 106 active development projects just in and around downtown, the highest number since tracking began in 2005. Now the city is giving residents a mobile-friendly way to put names to all those glass facades going up.
This week, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development launched “Shaping Seattle: Buildings,” an interactive online map of rising projects across the city. The biggest construction cluster is, naturally, in the neighborhood of South Lake Union—otherwise known as Amazon HQ.
Users simply click on a project to view or download specifics, including the design proposal, project timeline, permit statuses, and renderings. The app even allows you to submit comments and scope out upcoming public meetings about the development.
This concept isn’t new—back in November 2014, an independent developer named Ethan Phelps-Goodman created a similar app to raise awareness of the city’s housing issues. But “Shaping Seattle” is distinctive because it comes straight from the city government. The tool is a step toward transparency in an age when it’s virtually impossible to keep up with the city’s development. While debate continues to rage over Seattle’s transformation into a brogrammer playground, this app at least levels the playing field by making construction details more visible than ever.