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Design Review Work Session

Join fellow architects for a work session on Seattle's Design Review program as AIA looks to identify reforms to existing goals and processes in search of better outcomes. Whether you participate as an applicant, a board member, or a member of the public, we'd like to hear from you!

Seattle will take a close look at its Design Review program in 2022 in response to an item included in the city’s 2022 budget that requires SDCI to convene a stakeholder group on Design Review program outcomes. The stakeholder group is tasked with reviewing the following and providing recommendations for how the program should be modified:

  • A Race and Equity Toolkit analysis of the Design Review program and barriers to participation for BIPOC residents;
  • Design Review program outcomes since the program was modified in 2017, including review times by design review type and project complexity;
  • An analysis of departures sought through the program that quantifies the number and percentage of projects, by design review and project type, seeking departures, identification of departures sought, and whether those departures were granted;
  • An analysis of whether the program increases housing costs; and
  • A review of national best practices for design review programs with significant public participation components.

AIA Seattle and our members have engaged in Design Review discussions for many years. As the city embarks on this important review, we’d like to make sure we are capturing the views of architects who participate in Design Review as applicants, board members, or public participants. We’ll use this input to inform our work to address concerns about the existing Design Review process and identify potential improvements.

We’re hosting an initial meeting to review existing proposals and discuss ideas around the purpose of Design Review and what changes might better lead to intended outcomes. This work will continue for architects interested in extending the discussion or working on AIA’s efforts around Design Review.

Friday, March 4 | 1:00-2:00 pm | Online

Click here to RSVP

Key questions we will address include:

  • What is the role of Design Review in Seattle?  Should it have different or additional objectives?
  • What aspects of “good design” are able to be addressed via Design Review?
  • What is working and not working with the current process?
  • What changes might improve the current process?
  • How do we balance opportunities for community input and community needs (such as housing)?

Questions: Kirsten Smith, kirstens@aiaseattle.temp312.kinsta.cloud.

This session is limited to architects and associates; non-member architects or associates are welcome. If you have feedback for us and you are not an architect or associate, please contact Kirsten.


March 4, 2022
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm




AIA Seattle
(206) 448-4938