Construction in South Lake Union, February 2015. Ted S. Warren/AP

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.

Each dot represents an active project under design review.

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.

[H/T Puget Sound Business Journal, West Seattle Blog]

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. An illustration of a private train.

    Let’s Buy a Train

    If you dream of roaming the U.S. in a your own personal train car, you still can. But Amtrak cuts have railcar owners wondering if their days are numbered.

  2. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  3. A photo of the interior of a WeWork co-working office.

    WeWork Wants to Build the ‘Future of Cities.’ What Does That Mean?

    The co-working startup is hatching plans to deploy data to reimagine urban problems. In the past, it has profiled neighborhoods based on class indicators.

  4. A photo of a new subdivision of high-end suburban homes in Highland, Maryland.

    Unpacking the Power of Privileged Neighborhoods

    A new study shows that growing up in an affluent community brings “compounding privileges” and higher educational attainment—especially for white residents.

  5. A forking path in the forest at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City.

    America’s Management of Urban Forests Has Room for Improvement

    A new survey finds that urban forests could benefit from better data on climate change and pests and a focus on social equity.