Remembering Don Miles

Don Miles was a long-time friend of ours and a founding board member of Project for Public Spaces in 1975. He passed away in Seattle on December 2, 2021.

Remembering Don Miles
Don Miles was a pioneer of Urban Design and a founding board member of Project for Public Spaces.

Founding Project for Public Spaces Board Member and Urban Design Pioneer

Don Miles was a long-time friend of ours and a founding board member of Project for Public Spaces in 1975. He passed away in Seattle on December 2, 2021.

Don became an advocate for public space while working for the City of New York at the Office of Midtown Planning in New York City. While working there and serving PPS as a board member, he also assisted on early PPS projects, like helping us on the master plan of Bryant Park in 1980, among other similar projects of that era.

He also later set up Project for Public Spaces' first remote office (in Seattle), which he ran until he joined Zimmer Gunsul Frasca. In 1992 Don became a fellow with the American Institute of Architects. He was a leader in designing countless civic institutions, neighborhood plans, streets, transit hubs, and public spaces in the Seattle region and around the country.

In the early 2000s, as a PPS board member, Don helped us launch the placemaking movement with a series of "Great Places" symposiums in Seattle, setting us on a trajectory of regional convening, campaign, and network building that we're now continuing with PlacemakingX.

Don was an architect with degrees from Harvard's Graduate School of Design and the University of Washington.  

We will always remember and cherish his lifelong friendship with each of us and as a founding member of a global community that now drives the Placemaking movement.

Recently Don advised us as we launched the Social Life Project, returning to our original efforts at the beginnings of PPS with Don, collaborating with William "Holly" Whyte's and his work around Social Life and his book, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces.

Don's steadfast positivity, warmth, and vision will continue to shine in his lovely family, in the public realm of Seattle that he did so much for, and in the growing global placemaking community.


The mission of the Social Life Project is to incite a renaissance of community connection around the globe. It is an initiative of the Placemaking Fund, along with PlacemakingX — a global network of activists and community champions propelling the movement forward.