In 2008, the Livable South Downtown Plan was formulated to focus on the development of areas immediately surround downtown Seattle. The International District, or Chinatown, Little Saigon, and Japantown, are the locations that this plan aims to improve.

In 2008, the Livable South Downtown Plan was formulated to focus on the development of areas immediately surround downtown Seattle. The International District, or Chinatown, Little Saigon, and Japantown, are the locations that this plan aims to improve.

Through careful planning and open communication, the City and neighborhood organizations are working together to increase the density of the area by allowing taller and bigger buildings. But these will be done in consideration with historical preservation. Stringent guidelines are in place to ensure that the International District will not be taken over by corporations or national retail chains. Within the next decade or two, the International District is to remain the cultural center of the Greater Puget Sound Area but will share the urban density of Downtown Seattle.

Some of these plans are already put into action by the King Street Task Force, which consists of many businesses, individual property owners, and quasi-governmental groups. Their focus is to revitalize the area along King St, one step at a time. They currently have 3 committees: business, streetscape, and marketing.

Business committee analyzes and plans for a diverse mix of businesses, to develop a local economy that is affordable to small business owners and entrepreneurs. The International District in the future will have attractions to satisfy different consumer needs in order to bring in consumers from outside of Seattle.

Streetscape committee improves the appearance of the area through many visible projects. They are responsible for the trees that are being planted along the sidewalk toward the north end of Maynard Ave, with plans to extend to King St in the future. The columns of I-5 overpass on King St will also be painted. These projects are funded by grants.

Marketing committee is planning to refresh the reputation and brand of the International District. “Embracing the past with a contemporary approach” is their working strategy. Under the plans, the International District will become a mostly commercial district that is “accessible and affordable” for consumers. Another area of their concern is to create a unified marketing strategy for all of International District in order to promote the authentic cultural experience found here in Seattle.

This article is written based on information from an interview with a spokesperson of the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda).

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