City Design

A formal urban design vision is essential to fostering a public realm that supports the life and vitality of our city.

Our Priorities for City Design

  • Improve the Design Review process to promote better design
  • Insert urban design into the Seattle Comprehensive Plan
  • Support an Urban Design Framework for downtown Seattle


Design Review
Neighborhood character and sense of place rely in large part on quality design. The Design Review process and Design Guidelines are undergoing review and revision and will be informed by AIA Seattle member experience, insight, and passion.

Design Review and Zoning Panel Discussion
AIA hosted a panel discussion on Design Review and Zoning as part of the 2016 Seattle Design Festival. Stay tuned for more information as the discussion continues.

Urban Design Forum
AIA Seattle’s Urban Design Forum convenes members and policy makers to consider critical urban design issues facing our city.

Seattle Comprehensive Plan
More than any one policy effort, the Comprehensive Plan will determine through urban and architectural design the quality of life for the next generation of Seattle residents. AIA Seattle advocates for the inclusion of an urban design plan or framework in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

Urban Design Framework for Downtown
AIA Seattle supports the creation of an Urban Design Framework specifically for downtown Seattle that will provide a unified vision for growth and foster a public realm that encourages active civic engagement and healthier, more equitable communities at Seattle’s center.

AIA Publications

Comments on Early Community Outreach Rule, May 2018
Comments on proposed Design Review amendments, June 2017
Issue Brief: Design Review
Comments on DRAG Design Review recommendations
Letter to City Council requesting Design Review Task Force
AIA Seattle Comments to Design Review Improvement Recommendations
Issue Brief: Urban Design Framework
Comprehensive Plan EIS Comments


Design Review changes finalized
Lidding I-5

External Resources

Design Review
Design Review Program and Calendar
Map of Recent Seattle Design Review Projects
Overview of Design Review & Proposed Changes

One Center City
One Center City: 20 year plan for how we move through, connect to, and experience Seattle’s Center City neighborhoods
Downtown Transit Changes due to Light Rail Expansion

More Information

For additional information on AIA Seattle public policy priorities and activities; to share your views as an AIA Seattle member; or to join AIA Seattle’s This Week in Advocacy News email list, contact Executive Director, Melissa K. Neher.

State Advocacy

AIA Washington Council is hard at work for you, promoting legislation on green buildings and livable places, supporting a sustainable state economy, and protecting your ability to practice architecture. Learn more at

National Advocacy

The AIA represents the interests of architects before federal government and policy-making bodies. This outreach, coupled with sustained member participation and active involvement in the political process, enables the AIA to advocate on behalf of legislative, regulatory, and related issues important to AIA members. Learn more at

Seattle Design Festival

Seattle Design Festival

Seattle Design Festival connects designers, community members and civic leaders to explore the ways design improves our city and our lives - and will be August 17-22, 2024 Read more