A High Point for Inclusive Design
Once an isolated neighborhood with confusing streets and aging infrastructure, the redeveloped High Point public housing community is now is a national case study for innovative and sustainable community development. It shows what can be achieved through an inclusive planning process committed to keeping existing residents in the community and encouraging new people of all incomes and backgrounds to move in. Of the 1,500 units of homeowner and rental housing, over 40% are low-income, with the rest available at affordable or market rates. High Point is also next to one of Seattle’s most sensitive natural resource areas.
The road grid redesign now integrates the High Point community into the greater West Seattle area and includes earthwork, new streets, alleys, sidewalks, trees and utilities. The innovative natural drainage system was the first of its kind at this scale in the US. Planted bioretention swales absorb and filter rainwater before it enters the city’s storm drains. The swales also divert 80% of the stormwater into a central pond, slowly releasing the naturally filtered water into nearby Longfellow Creek, protecting the habitat of the salmon living there.
Pocket parks on every block give families a place to play right outside their front door, while the large central park gives everyone a safe place to hang out close to home. High Point is now a vibrant, diverse community where residents enjoy engaging with the outdoors and with each other.
MIG provided civil engineering, infrastructure, landscape architecture, people-oriented streetscape design, utility design, and natural drainage system analysis and design.
The project has earned many honors, including the Urban Land Institute’s Global Award of Excellence and the Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award for Community Informed Design.