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Sunday, May 5 • 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Alternative History Walking Tour of the Seattle Commons

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When you hear the words “South Lake Union” what do you picture? Is it gleaming skyscrapers? A skyline of construction cranes? Tech workers bustling between high-end coffee shops and ultramodern research laboratories? Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood has certainly come to embody the economic boom in Seattle, being the epicenter of the technology-fueled population explosion in the Emerald City. But just over twenty years ago, the future of the South Lake Union neighborhood was up for grabs.

Join Atlas Obscura Society Seattle Field Agent Christopher Blado and Weston Brinkley of Street Sounds Ecology for a journey into Seattle’s not-so-distant past: The failed Seattle Commons project: A proposed redevelopment plan for South Lake Union that was narrowly voted down by Seattle voters in the mid-1990s. Referred to as “Seattle’s Central Park,” the plan would have created a large urban park in the center of South Lake Union, space currently occupied by blocks of skyscrapers.
We’ll tour the area, learning about the various development plans and major land transformations for this neighborhood throughout its history. You'll hear about the political and economic trends that led to the Seattle Commons plan, and its rejection by Seattle voters. And we’ll discuss the future of Seattle’s urban core in the wake of the current population boom.

Additional Details:
  • The tour meets up in Denny Park at 1:00 p.m., and ends at Lake Union Park around 2:45 p.m.
  • This is a walking tour with a total walking distance of about 1.5 miles. Please be ready to walk. Wear comfortable shoes and attire.
  • We will walk rain or shine, so watch the weather and prepare accordingly.
  • Denny Park is served by buses 8 and 62, as well as the South Lake Union Streetcar.
  • Limited street parking is available, but arrive early if you plan on using it.

Presented in Partnership with Atlas Obscura.

Requires additional ticket purchase.

avatar for Chris Blado

Chris Blado

Field Agent, Atlas Obscura
Chris Blado is a Field Agent with Atlas Obscura, an organization dedicated to inspiring wonder and curiosity about the world around us.  When Chris moved to Seattle nine years ago, he was struck by both the beauty of Seattle’s natural environment, and by the accelerating rate of... Read More →
avatar for Weston Brinkley

Weston Brinkley

Watershed Ambassador, Urban Waters Federal Partnership
Weston Brinkley is an educator, author, and researcher on urban ecology and systems, environmental stewardship, citizen engagement, and the social dimensions of urban resources. He has worked extensively with resource managers, urban scientists, policy makers, planners, and a range... Read More →

Sunday May 5, 2019 1:00pm - 3:00pm PDT