Uncategorized July 30, 2012

More Detail on Proposed Ubran Growth in downtown Seattle

More details emerging (thanks to the Puget Sound Business Journal) on a proposed developed by the city of Seattle, King County and Forterra, a nonprofit formerly known as the Cascade Land Conservancy.

From PSBJ:
"A proposed program would make developers buy development rights for farms and forests; in return, developers would be able to build bigger buildings. If they buy the rights, that protects the farms and forestlands from development.

The draft requirement would be in addition to current rules requiring developers to support affordable housing and child care in the area if they want more space."

see: www.facebook.com/thriveSeattle for a map of the proposed boundaries
Uncategorized June 27, 2012

Urban Growth v. Urban Sprawl

Interesting chatter about the proposed zoning changes in South Lake Union. While some will argue this point, I'll say that the Seattle area is _relatively_ rich in open space. The human population is growing and many of them are moving to Seattle to enjoy this amazing natural setting, a healthy culture, business opportunities, etc. While I don't love it when my view is blocked (it has been and will be again soon) I think it is important that we consider that we can't have both an unchanging skyline and urban growth rules that limit sprawl into the mountains. The people need to go somewhere. This plan has developers trading development rights in outlying areas for in-city rights. Here's something to consider from Mayor McGinn's press release:  "This proposal will help that growth continue in ways that bring significant public benefits. Along with new jobs and new homes, we can build a mixed use community that leverages growth to create affordable housing and finance the improvements needed to streets and public spaces." http://seattle.gov/mayor/press/newsdetail.asp?ID=12881

Uncategorized June 22, 2012

Why Believe In Cities?

The beauty of being one's own publisher/editor is that one (me!) doesn't have to back up one's ideas. While I'm sure my opinion has been influenced by things I've read and conversations I've had, I'm not going to look for and cite data today. But, I've had two conversations over the past day about cities, in particular metro-Seattle, in which I've been called upon to speculate on the long-term viability of Seattle. My thoughts:
-I'm bullish.
-Cities are "greener" than suburbs
-New suburbs are easier to build than new cities. So, when "flight" occurs, it tends to flow either back into cities, or out to new suburbs.
-Traffic (more traffic makes living closer even more appealing)
-Proximity to California (as California gets more expensive, and Californians look for a different pace/better access to nature, they look up and down the coast. North seems the most appealing direction, and Seattle is larger city than Portland).

I think the only real fly-in-the-soup for cities is a concern for personal safety, borne either of fears of terrorism, pandemic, etc. Those issues are so large and hard to deal with, that they are pretty easy to get over.

The cities have it! And, Seattle has it in spades.