northgate urban center plan

Seattle, WA / Ongoing


Seva Workshop is leading the development of the Northgate Urban Center Plan to help the City of Seattle achieve more sustainable and equitable urban growth in the Northgate neighborhood over the next 20 years.

Along with Seattle’s other designated urban centers—Downtown, Uptown, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill/First Hill, and the University District—Northgate is expected to see significant population growth in the coming decades. Seva is working with the community and City to develop an Urban Center Plan that identifies a refreshed community vision and supporting neighborhood-specific strategies to prepare for incoming growth and investment. Informed by robust community engagement, these strategies will reflect the community’s values, challenges, opportunities, and goals.

In addition to leading analysis for the Plan related to land use, housing, and public facilities, Seva developed the project’s Racial Equity Toolkit (RET), and is conducting technical analysis, and designing and implementing a community engagement strategy based on this RET. Seva will also produce a visually engaging planning document that communicates the Urban Center Plan to the community and agency partners.

Expected in mid-2024, the Northgate Urban Center Plan will support the City’s efforts to make Seattle’s neighborhoods more equitable, vital, and resilient.


Though housing prices are rising, the Northgate area remains one of the more affordable in the Seattle area and expects to experience significant growth in the coming years. This affordability has attracted communities of immigrants, refugees, people of color, lending the area a global and diverse feel.

Engagement for this project is centered on a Racial Equity Toolkit (RET), which is a framework that guides the development and implementation of policies, initiatives, programs, and budget issues to address impacts on racial equity.

Racial equity in engagement. In addition to conducting a community-wide survey, our engagement strategy focuses on specific groups identified in the RET who have a history of being marginalized by planning efforts. This focus ensures the final Northgate Urban Center Plan will reflect the demographics and needs of the people who live, work, worship, learn, play, and shop in Northgate.

Racial equity in technical analysis. Throughout the development of the Urban Center Plan, proposals in technical areas will intersect to create impacts (both beneficial and burdensome) across groups of people. To mitigate these impacts, the policies, initiatives, and programs identified in the Northgate Urban Center Plan will be reviewed against the priority outcomes and community demographics identified in the RET. 

Learn more about the Northgate Urban Center Plan (website by Seva Workshop).

Collage by Mel Isidor at Isidor Studio; photos by Chip Rountree.

Spotlight on the Idris Mosque

Founded in 1981, Northgate's Idris Mosque lends an immediate sense of home and belonging for many new arrivals in the Seattle area. The congregation, or masjid, counts among themselves people of Somali, Eritrean, Gambian, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Pakistani descent, as well as American-born converts.

Located in a residential area, the mosque has made significant efforts to build relationships with neighbors and be a positive force locally. However, relations weren’t always easy. In fact, there was significant pushback against even building the mosque in 1981, related to the Iran hostage crisis. However, dynamics have shifted significantly over the past two decades, and neighbors rallied in support of the mosque as they experienced security threats in the wake of 9/11.

Today, the Idris mosque is a neighborhood fixture, whose mission statement highlights the importance of relationships between members and their neighbors.
Seidy Idris
Seva Workshop Intern, 2023
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