DPD is sad to announce that Planning Director John Rahaim is leaving Seattle to assume the position of planning director for the City of San Francisco.
Seattle had the good fortune of luring John away from Pittsburgh eight years ago. At DPD, John successfully elevated the role of planning and urban design in the development of Seattle, first through his creative and inspiring leadership of the CityDesign program, and later as director of the newly consolidated long-range planning function at DPD. As the planning director for the past four years, John oversaw DPD’s expanded role as Seattle’s principal planning agency with the merging of comprehensive and long-range planning with CityDesign, Land Use Policy Planning and Code Development, and the City’s Green Team. Under his leadership DPD has been in the forefront of progressive planning with exceptional work on the Central Waterfront, the first major update of the City’s downtown and commercial Land Use Code in 20 years and the adoption of new environmentally critical areas policies and regulations. He has provided invaluable leadership in planning efforts for South Downtown, Northgate and the emergence of South Lake Union as an urban center, among many other new planning and urban design initiatives. Even as John prepares to depart, he is working diligently to recommend a process for DPD to take a lead role in updating the neighborhood plans beginning in 2008. John’s skillful representation of the city at local and national venues has helped elevate Seattle’s profile as a progressive and forward-thinking city willing to undertake the planning challenges presented by global warming and the advancement of sustainability initiatives with creativity and innovation.
We will miss John’s capable direction at DPD as well as his ability to champion new ideas, make planning fun, and unite people and programs around common goals and objectives. He has advanced the cause of planning in Seattle, and in so doing has helped focus attention on the big picture as the city has experienced an unprecedented period of development and change. All of the employees of the Planning Division, and throughout DPD and the City, wish John well in his new and challenging job as the planning director of San Francisco.