Site Enhancement and Activation to revitalize classic waterfront district
Seaport Village is a waterfront shopping, dining, and entertainment complex reminiscent of harbor-side settings of a century ago. The 14-acre site, opened in 1980, hosts 54 one-of-kind shops, 13 casual eateries, and four fine-dining restaurants.
A prime destination, Seaport Village presents a unique opportunity to revitalize the downtown waterfront through building community, experimenting with new models of community engagement, and celebrating local art, culture, and innovation.
In the fall of 2018, the Port of San Diego hired SLP Urban Planning to manage the ‘interim activation’ at Seaport Village. This strategic series of near-term interventions employs site enhancements, edu-tainment, and arts partnerships to enliven the village while testing ideas for the future of San Diego’s waterfront more broadly.
Our approach is iterative and experimental, grounded in principles of Tactical Urbanism and Human-Centered Design. From decluttering common spaces, implementing moveable furniture, and facilitating community happenings, to the creation of seven artists in residency programs, a podcast studio, and a monthly concert series, we are creating a waterfront where visitors and tourists alike can gather, exchange ideas, and celebrate time with one another.
Though COVID-19 has posed new challenges, we’ve worked rapidly to bring a taste of that placemaking to our ‘Virtual Village.’
Artist in Residency Program (Current Participants)
- Studio by the Bay presented by The New Children’s Museum
- Bread & Salt Gallery
- La Bodega Gallery
- Oslo Sardine Bar
- Jessica Ling Findley Studio
- Studio Marisa
Seaport Sessions Music Series
V1 Weekly Concert & Lecture Series
V2 Monthly Headliner Concert & Art Walk
V3 Virtual Monthly Headliner Concert, Interviews with artists & Virtual Studio Tours [pivoted to immediately adjust to the COVID-19 context]
Seaport Streams (Live Streaming Online Content) [invented to respond to the COVID-19 context]
Every Thursday: Acoustic Music Performances from Local Musicians
Every Friday: Storytime with Tim Kern & childrens’ performance or workshop
Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Gallery & Showcase
Showcase and pop-up gallery of student art from San Diego Unified School District
Ocean Optimism: Art Interpreting Science, a Weeklong Edu-tainment Event
Inspired by the Ocean Sciences Meeting, the flagship conference for the ocean sciences and the larger ocean-connected community coming to the adjacent San Diego convention center in February 2020, Seaport Village invited artist Jessica Ling Findley to produce a series of immersive art experiences that bring science to life and highlight today’s most challenging environmental concerns with whimsy, creativity, and humor.
Open source Podcast Studio, free to the public by reservation.
Seaport Sessions Podcast
Weekly podcast with interviews from local leaders, artists, and innovators.
Birch Aquarium Pop-Up Series
Hands-on science learning for kids.
San Diego City College Graphic Design Showcase
Display of student rebrands for Seaport Village for a panel of civic leaders.
Curated exhibition showcasing the best that San Diego has to offer.
Logo Redesign & Brand Refresh
Comprehensive brand update for renewed look and feel.
New identity and wayfinding signage to complement the refreshed brand and improve navigation.
Simplify the color and graphics palette, drawing more attention to the offerings and location while establishing a uniform and a contemporary look for the site.
Native and Drought Tolerant Landscaping
Replace landscaping with native and drought tolerant species. Test ideas for sustainable landscaping at other waterfront properties.
Paint refresh and improved pedestrian connectivity.
Demo Gazebo to create flexible event space.
Moveable furniture to encourage interaction and introduce greater flexibility to the event space.
Transform overgrown hedges into an urban beach, enhancing connectivity to the waterfront & encouraging gathering along the Embarcadero.
Art & Culture
Position Seaport Village as a destination for art, culture, education, and community where people of all ages and backgrounds can experience innovative and relevant programming. Strengthen partnerships and establish an ‘arts district’ in collaboration with neighboring institutions.
Emphasize the ways the history of the site has shaped the region over centuries. The present iteration is a contemporary piece of that transformation, creating a rich palette for the next evolution.
Establish Seaport as a destination for thought leaders in the Blue Economy, specifically Blue Tech and Ocean Innovation via the Ocean Optimism – Art Interpreting Science Events, environmental literacy and blue economy / tech industries.
Visually portray the cross-section of economic, civic and recreational activities taking place on the Bay through the site-specific lens of Seaport Village.
Sea Life & Ecology
Showcase biodiversity, environmental change and climate resiliency as it relates to the highly unique Seaport Village site.
Foot Traffic Study
- Visitor Count
- Journey Maps
- Synthesized with sales and car count data
- Interview people along their natural path as they move through Seaport Village
- Use findings to inform activations and site enhancements
- Interactive, ‘workshop’ style approach
- Employ the ‘affinity mapping’ gamestorming tool to hear equally from all voices at the table
- Example groups: Tenants, Partners/Collaborators, Port, Nearby Residents
- Exploration of similar sites around the nation and globe
- In light of COVID-19, deep dive into tourist retail response to similar crises throughout history