Links to Opportunity – Hilltop Engagement Projects

Spaceworks Tacoma, working with the City of Tacoma, contracted community engagement specialists to engage Hilltop neighbors through pop-up outreach events.

The collected data will guide the streetscape design elements of the Martin Luther King Jr. Way sidewalk area between 6th Avenue to 19th Street. Nine creative Tacomans developed innovative ways to collect feedback about the proposed street redesign known as Links To Opportunity. Working side by side with consultants Christopher Paul Jordan and Tera Williams, the resulting temporary projects span from interactive chalking, to care packages for people who are homeless, to a giant piñata. “We want to ensure that community vision is communicated and reflected in the design to the best of our ability,” said Andy Micklow, AICP, Project Senior Planner.


Gerardo Peña

A brightly colored 20 foot piñata at the heart of People’s Park during the Hilltop Street Fair was an unexpected attraction drawing children of all ages to reimagine public space. (more…)

Unity in the Community
Gwen Jones

Gwen Jones does neighborhood canvassing and one-on-one interviews asking folks about their relationship to Hilltop and their visions for the future of the community.

The Reintroduction of BAD
Whitney Brady

A combination of flash-mob style awareness building and neighborhood canvassing, Whitney Brady’s grassroots campaign uses the element of surprise to generate dialogue with neighborhood residents who may not be aware of the impact the link light rail will have on the MLK streetscape.

MLK Dreams in the Cold
Matamatanonofo Porter

Matamatanonofo uses impromptu interviews to gain insight about the streetscape through the eyes of people experiencing homelessness. She offers creatively crafted care packages to people who have an interest in sharing their experiences or ideas about the future of the Hilltop streetscape.

The Last Supper
Tiffanny Hammonds

Tiffanny Hammonds conducts a series of in depth interviews with elders in the neighborhoods church going community. Her project ‘The Last Supper’ provides meals and groceries to respondents in exchange for their feedback on their visions for Hilltop streetscape.

Hilltop Hoodwitch
Jasmine Brown

Equipped with a divination board alongside a myriad props and antique serums, Jasmine Brown’s Hilltop Hoodwitch project probes the fears of gentrification to better understand the challenges Hilltop locals are experiencing and gain insights into their magical solutions.

Glaciers of Wisdom
Brian Robinson

Brian Robinson produced a short film based on interviews with elders in the neighborhood about their experiences navigating the streetscape and what functions would make the neighborhood most accessible and welcoming to them.

Pyramid Construction Co.
Dion Thomas

With the driving question “What would you like the Hilltop to look like in 2000 years?” Dion Thomas’ imaginary contracting company creates pop-up construction sites to captivate the imagination.

Fill In the Blanks
Dionne Bonner

Dionne Bonner’s brightly colored chalkboard signs seek direct community input on the Hilltop streetscape.

About Links to Opportunity

Initiated in 2016 the Links to Opportunity Project works with the community in designing streetscape improvements along Sound Transit’s Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension route. The resulting streetscape design will enable safe access for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities.

This isn’t the project’s first outreach effort with the community. From July to October 2017, Downtown on the Go, Sound Outreach – Hilltop Action Coalition, and Tacoma Housing Authority engaged in grassroots outreach with the Hilltop community.

For detailed project updates visit the City of Tacoma website: