Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On a Dark and Stormy Saturday Afternoon...

Matt S, Schell L, Seth D

Although we explored Seattle on a Saturday afternoon (1/19/2013, 1:30-4 pm), it was too cold for many people to be out and about. This limited us to looking for ways spaces were being shared without human interaction. We’re confident our pictures are quality examples of “city sharing”.

The weather in Seattle has a very direct effect on the utilization of its public spaces. The tendency for overcast weather means parks and recreational areas are subject to different uses. The climate here introduces an interesting method of sharing the city.

The first location was a mountain bike park under I-5, near the southbound exit 168. Originally used by homeless people, volunteers transformed the space into a place to ride without needing to drive out of the city. We noticed that it was clearly still used as sleeping place for some. This means the space beneath the freeway is used for sleeping and mountain biking.

We continued on to Capitol Hill, where we found a construction site bordering Carl Anderson Park. The entire perimeter of the park had a two story solid wall around it, on which was a mural of graffiti-style artwork. Since the site neighbors the park and several blocks of housing, the artwork helped mitigate the unpleasantness of being next to a large-scale construction site.

We took an obligatory picture of the Jimi Hendrix statue. We also found the Elvis Presley statue tucked away in a hotel lobby area. Although the location was probably public space, it struck us how hidden Elvis was compared to Jimi even though both were life-size bronze statues.

As we kept searching around Capitol Hill, we found a bike shop using the sidewalk to store some of its inventory. We wonder if they have ever been reprimanded for using public space for private property.

On the walk back to the car, we saw some BMX’ers using the plaza in front of Seattle Central Community College to practice riding. No one seemed to mind since it was a Saturday and the brick structures were perfect size for a skilled BMX rider.

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