The U District Partnership’s vision is to foster and sustain a vibrant and innovative district of entrepreneurs, major employers, talented workers, and diverse residents. Strategic partnerships of effective leaders and disparate voices will build on the district’s creative and eclectic character and draw on the University of Washington’s world-class presence to achieve this vision.
The U District Partnership's work is organized into four working committees, each with principles, goals, strategies, and opportunities for partnership guided by our Strategic Plan. The four committees are:
Create a vibrant and attractive business district where a mix of startup tech companies can be incubated, and small independent business owners can flourish. Elements include business attraction, retail and small business growth, alley activation, and business development. Do this through market research, real estate and business inventories, catalytic development opportunities, and business education.
Position the District in the minds of potential investors as an ideal place for innovative and diverse activities. This means a strategic branding and communications effort that goes beyond street level retail activities to audiences far beyond students and others who are already in the District. A key aspect of this strategy will be to distinguish between the district’s already successful calendar of events and promotions and higher level branding aimed at potential investors.
Steward a public realm that works for everybody. To ensure friendly, inviting, clean, and safe streets and public areas, initiate and manage an active program that focuses on crime and disorder hotspots, public rights-of-way, young adult support, community services, and partnerships with law enforcement and educational organizations.
Manage a physical environment that supports the U District’s vision as a vibrant place for creative and eclectic activity. Elements include density, urban form, housing, public space, multi-modal transportation, and human services. Achieve this through design and development standards, zoning, coordination with transit agencies, advocacy and incentives, public and private investment.
The U District is a unique, thriving neighborhood. In addition to the hustle and bustle of the Ave, over 45,000 students attend the University of Washington and 38,000 people work on campus and in local businesses. The district is home to more than 14,200 residents, many of whom are students. The U District neighborhood is known for its year-round farmers market and annual Street Fair, and features many agencies and churches that serve a diversity of social needs.
The U District is also changing. Several new developments are under construction or planned, and there are new investments in University properties as well as new parks and open spaces. Importantly, construction of the light rail station has begun at NE 43rd Street and Brooklyn Avenue NE, and is expected to be in operation by 2021. Growth in population, households, families, and owner-occupancy are expected to exceed the state and national averages over the next five years. A key component of the University District Partnership is to make the area more attractive to entrepreneurs, employers, and residents who are engaged in innovative and enterprises that take advantage of the University’s presence and will diversify and stimulate the neighborhood’s economic base.
In late 2011 the first seeds of the U District Partnership were sowed with the founding of the U District Livability Partnership (UDLP). The partnership was forged through a four year period of time that saw unprecedented levels of community engagement and collaboration between the City, the UW, Sound Transit, Business Owners, Property Owners, and Residents of the District. Together we crafted a Strategic Plan guided by a Steering Committee. Their efforts produced this long term, sustainable organization that provides the community with the leadership capacity required to realize their own goals.