Livable City Year

Thea Foss Peninsula Manufacturing and Industrial Futures Study

Livable City Year 2017-2018 – City of Tacoma

UW Faculty: Mark Pendras, Urban Studies Program, UW Tacoma
City Project Leads: Stephen Atkinson, Planning and Development Services; Pat Beard, Community and Economic Development

Project summary

The goal of this project was to help the City of Tacoma understand the future of manufacturing and industry in the Thea Foss Peninsula. More specifically, this project aims to inform the ongoing tideflats subarea planning process in the City of Tacoma by providing lessons to create and maintain space for urban industry.

In order to support the City of Tacoma’s planning process, students from the University of Washington Tacoma’s Urban Studies program focused on specific case studies of urban industry within the United States, as well as three of the common barriers to urban industry: public opinion, financing, and brown field redevelopment. Students used a mix of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods to identify a number of lessons related to planning for urban industry. Qualitative methods, such as coding public comments, case studies of industrial planning
in port districts around the US, and policy and comparative research are supported with quantitative data from feasibility (GIS) research to demonstrate areas of most importance in the tideflats and offer recommendations for planning for urban industry.

Each research method uncovered unique findings – however, a few common themes emerged throughout the project. We found that it is desirable, viable, and feasible to create and maintain space for urban industry in the Tacoma tideflats. Moreover, the other cities that have successfully created and maintained space for urban industry have done so by prioritizing industry, partnerships, and protective policy. We conducted comparative research with planning documents from the City of Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma, which informed our recommendations on how to move the needle on the ongoing tideflats subarea planning process.

Part of the 2017-2018 Livable City Year partnership between the University of Washington and the City of Tacoma.

See all Livable City Year projects in Tacoma that UW students and faculty worked on during the year-long partnership.

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