Curbing Conservation

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Conservation districts are found in cities across America.They focus on responsibly developing areas that have historical significance, cultural relevance, or unique architectural features. In the case of Capitol Hill, all of the above components are present, and it became Seattle’s only conservation district in 2009. My project chronicles this conservation district, through interviews with neighborhood advocacy groups, architectural analysis, and a literature review. This conservation district has three goals (1) to encourage the preservation of existing buildings, (2) support small businesses, and (3) preserve neighborhood character.

Persistent challenges and public controversy has led the conservation district through four phases of revisions. My report will include a timeline of these amendments and their impact on the built environment. In addition to a timeline, I have crafted three policy proposals that strengthen the conservation district’s impact of each of its goals. By engaging with stakeholders of the conservation district, field research,and reviewing best practices, I have explored the effectiveness of the Pike/Pine Conservation Overlay District.