Monthly Staff Feature: Erica Bush, Public Realm Manager

As Public Realm Manager, Erica works to create beautiful, healthy, and sustainable environments throughout the neighborhood that inspire spending more time outdoors.

This month, we talk to Erica about her first official month with the Alliance, how things are going so far and some of the upcoming projects she’s excited to start working on.

  • Since you are new to the team and the community, tell us a little about yourself. What specifically drew you to apply for this position?

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where I was exposed to an array of different people, perspectives, personal and cultural representation. This upbringing had a huge impact on my personality and professional career. I love to help inform and shape spaces that allow people to express themselves, to feel comfortable in the world, and proud of where they call home. I discovered the world of urban design and public art in graduate school and have never looked back.

The Public Realm Manager position is exciting to me because I have a long standing connection to this neighborhood. Pioneer Square has always felt like a small slice of home away from home. The public spaces in Pioneer Square are stunning and with new developments coming up on the waterfront, ongoing transit investments and private projects. I look forward to supporting the vitality of these areas so that they can serve all of those who come through this community– whether for a moment, a day or a lifetime.  

  • It’s been a couple of weeks since you joined the team, how is it going so far?

This role is very dynamic, there are so many moving parts! It touches on everything from transportation planning, to human services, public art to maintenance concerns. The day to day variety is what I really love about placed-based work. Plus, I have the opportunity to cross paths with people from a wide variety of fields that all touch our shared urban experience.

I know I’m still getting my sea legs under me but I look forward to working alongside community members to continue to find new ways to express our unique identity and care for the neighborhood’s stunning historic features.

  • What has surprised you most about the neighborhood/job? What have you been happy to learn?

Prior to joining, I was familiar with the Alliance’s work however, I don’t know that I fully grasped the extent of the organization’s scope. This organization has an incredible history and is beloved by so many. It’s amazing to be working alongside a team so dedicated to everyone who lives, works or plays in Pioneer Square.

  • In your capacity as Public Realm manager for the Alliance, what are you most excited to be working on/ start working on?

I’m looking forward to working alongside others to think creatively about how we better care and use our public spaces in Pioneer Square. We have long needed significant investment in these areas and I think the pandemic exposed how much quality open spaces can support a healthier day to day life. I believe our public spaces are so paramount to giving folks a space that makes them feel good, create community, and connect with nature.

I also look forward to ensuring that the new open spaces launching  over the next few years in our neighborhood are a reflection of all the things that make this area so unique and exciting.

  • Finally, how can folks connect with you, get to know you better?

Feel free to reach out to me any time via email or phone. I would love to go on a walk, meet for coffee and hear from each one of our neighbors. I am an avid believer that we connect better as human beings in person so wherever possible I’d prefer our interactions be in real space and time. I’m truly looking forward to getting to know you all better!