Office of Planning and Community Development
The Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) is a new office that will support Mayor Ed Murray’s vision of building thriving communities through an integrated and equitable approach to planning and community investment. OPCD will work across City departments to assess community needs, prioritize resources, and develop a vision for how Seattle grows to ensure that we are coordinating and implementing our plans with a cohesive vision.
We are working toward a city that is inclusive, affordable, vibrant, interconnected and innovative. We partner with neighborhoods, businesses, agencies and others to bring about positive change and coordinate investments for Seattle communities.
- Planning & Implementation
- Research and Analysis/Citywide Planning
- Seattle Planning Commission
- Seattle Design Commission
- Comprehensive Planning – We revise long-range policies to set broad direction for how the city will grow, in collaboration with King County, the Puget Sound Regional Council, and the state of Washington. In 2016, the City adopted Seattle 2035, an update to Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan that will guide how we can best support the 70,000 households and 115,000 jobs projected to come to Seattle in the next 20 years. Research and Analysis – We provide data to inform policies and plans citywide and in neighborhoods. We are working to bring together a cohesive investment strategy for all of Seattle. We present census information and we monitor key indicators that tell us who we are and how we are changing as a city.
- Community Planning – We undertake focused planning and special initiatives in specific areas of the city in partnership with residents, businesses, non-profits, property owners, and other City departments.
- Implementing Transit-Oriented Development – We create new partnerships to encourage equitable transit-oriented development in light rail station areas consistent with community plans. This work focuses on creating jobs and providing housing affordable to a range of incomes, maximizing transit ridership, and stimulating the economic health of local neighborhood areas.
- Housing Policies – We modify City codes to address the need for affordable housing as part of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda. Planners are working with the community to develop programs to require affordable housing with new development, expand options for different housing types in transit-rich areas of the city, and examine design considerations to ensure neighborhoods remain livable and vibrant as the city grows and changes.
- Capital Cabinet – We staff and manage the Capital Cabinet, which is comprised of key staff from the Mayor’s Office and department directors who have responsibility for major capital projects, and departments that support neighborhoods and businesses where these infrastructure investments are made. We work with members of the Cabinet to ensure that the City’s capital investments support community development objectives, and that department priorities are aligned and reflected in policies and budget resources.
- The Seattle Planning Commission - An independent body that advises the Mayor, City Council and City departments on broad planning goals, policies and plans for the physical development of the City.
- The Seattle Design Commission - An independent body that promotes civic design excellence in capital improvement projects located on City land, in the City right-of-way, or constructed with City funds. The Commission advises the Mayor, City Council, and City departments on the design of capital improvements and policies that shape Seattle’s public realm.
About Our Director
Samuel Assefa was appointed by Mayor Ed Murray as OPCD’s new director in the Spring of 2016. Prior to his appointment, he served as the senior urban designer for the City of Boulder, Colorado. Previously, he was the Director of Land Use and Planning Policy for Chicago’s Department of Planning, and served as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley. He also served the City of San Francisco as director of Special Projects for the Department of Planning and Development responsible for the implementation of various urban design policies and redevelopment plans.
Throughout his work in many communities, Assefa has demonstrated a commitment to creating thriving and livable cities as well as racial and social justice as a core planning principal. He brings a broad perspective to Seattle having lived and worked in several cities in the US and abroad. He has participated as a speaker and advisor on urban planning and design issues worldwide including cities in Canada, the Netherlands, China, Ethiopia, and Australia, among others.
Assefa has a master’s degree in city planning from MIT, and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago.