Great City is Pleased to co-sponsor the Green Alleys Competition!

Seattle’s alleys offer intimate, small-scale spaces that, properly staged, invite people to walk and promise a host of sustainability benefits. Introducing greenery to Seattle’s forgotten spaces can create a small ecological system of its own by filtering city runoff before it hits the Puget Sound.

How green is your alley? The City of Seattle, the International Sustainability Institute, People for Puget Sound, and the AIA Seattle is sponsoring a contest on how to green our alleys. An all-star cast of designers, planners, residents and other alley-lovers will judge the entries for their originality, cost-effectiveness and practical implementation.

Join us in a unique design competition to green Seattle’s alleys

For more information send an email to:

OR email

Here is a PDF document containing project info, submission requirements and maps of the project area: Green_Alleys_info.pdf (836 KB)


Image by Gehl Architects

Interested parties can get more information by subscribing to (emailing):

Official Press Release Follows:

Guiding Principles

Alleys are a key resource in Seattle. Traditionally restricted to service uses, the Clear Alleys Program has opened up opportunities to use alleys in different ways. This design competition is focused on potential new uses that in combination could add functionality to our transportation and ecological systems as well as improving the aesthetic and community-building elements of our City. Below are some guiding principles to help you in your design of Seattle’s best Green Alley:

Green alleys should:

  • Welcome pedestrians, both as walkways and places to visit
  • Incorporate green stormwater infrastructure in both functional and aesthetic aspects
  • Encourage building design to provide doors, windows, and other elements that support non-service uses
  • Continue to provide access for service vehicles

Judging Criteria

  1. Design innovation and quality: 40%
  2. Thoughtful integration of green stormwater infrastructure: 20%
  3. Response to culture, community, and context: 20%
  4. Transferability of ideas and approach to other alleys: 20%
  5. Submittal Requirements

    Registration fee $10, payable at the time of submission to International Sustainability Institute, (ISI) (cash or check only)

    Up to two (2) 30″x40″ presentation boards (orientation may be landscape or portrait), include a CD with electronic versions of all boards in PDF or JPG format

    Address specifically the Nord alley within the project area (see project area information packet)
    Design on one side only of presentation boards, backsides should list submitters’ name(s), contact information and submission category

    Graphics may be any combination of sections, plans, and sketches that helps to convey your design
    Limit one submission per individual or team
    Submission Categories
    Submit under one category only:

    Student or New Professional: include current quarter enrollment information or proof of graduation from a degree or certificate program within the last three years.

    Non-affiliated designer: include a personal statement that you are not currently employed with a firm or agency where your primary role is design work.
    General: includes individuals, firms, or groups that are currently employed in a design field.

    Assumptions and notes:

    For this exercise assume that soils beneath the alley right-of-way are sufficient for stormwater infiltration (1″/hour permeability)

    The use of the Nord Alley does not preclude designs that may not comport with the Pioneer Square historic guidelines, the judging criteria includes the ability of a design to be transferable to other alleys within the City

    Designs may be proposed for within the right of way of the alley as well as retrofitting the existing buildings as those designs support the Guiding Principles for creating a Green Alley

    All electronic submissions become the property of the City of Seattle

    All submission materials will be available for pick up at ISI offices on March 5 during regular business hours


    Grand Prize: Open to general submissions
    Best Student/New Professional:
    Best non-affiliated designer:
    People’s Choice: Winner selected at the alley party – see schedule

    We are awaiting confirmation of a cash award for each prize along with a super-cool trophy!
    All submissions will be published on the SDOT blog.


    Week of January 11: Release schedule, regulations, and base information on Yahoo Groups

    February 22: Entries due to ISI offices by 5 pm PST (314 1st Avenue South, 206-381-1630)

    February 24: Judging panel reviews and selects winners

    March 4: First Thursday Alley party, all entries displayed and winners announced in the Nord Alley

    Co-sponsored by:

    Great City, AIA Seattle, Pioneer Square Community Association, People for Puget Sound, City of Seattle, Great City, Downtown Seattle Association, Feet First, and the International Sustainability Institute.