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Urban Planning

Urban Planning

In praise of the humble bungalow

Earlier this year, Seattle’s single-family zoning suffered a near-death experience when Mayor Ed Murray’s affordable housing panel endorsed what would be an effective citywide up-zoning…

Seattle transportation levy looks like a nail-biter

After months of confidence that voters would approve the $930 million Move Seattle levy, proponents are acknowledging that it will be a very close vote…

Saving Seattle’s trees may mean saving their yards

Amidst all the noise over the city’s recently adopted Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), scarcely a word has been spared for the 4.35 million…

Preservationists score a small victory in Pioneer Square

Opponents of a proposed Pioneer Square development, which has been criticized as “out of scale” with the historic district, won a procedural round from a…

Battered rent control resolution crawls its way to the full council

Although a resolution in support of lifting the statewide ban on rent control is not dead, its future isn't bright, either. The Seattle City Council’s…

Why it’s so hard to build truly affordable housing in Seattle

The Thunderbird Motel was a longtime eyesore, even among the notorious stretch of seedy establishments along Aurora Avenue. The gun violence, drug dealing and prostitution were…

‘Active’ parks celebrated, even among homeless advocates

When Mayor Ed Murray announced last June that the Downtown Seattle Association would manage Westlake and Occidental parks, there was quick pushback from homeless advocates,…

Fed up with Seattle? Here are 9 other cities you’ll love

Over the past year or so, there is been considerable kvetching in certain journalistic quarters about how Seattle (or perhaps more specifically, Capitol Hill) is…

Seattle installs new system to track individual drivers

Gray boxes, holding the wiring for nearby traffic signals, dot more than 1,000 intersections throughout Seattle. They fade into the background by design, many of…

Seattle was once a bicyclist’s city — and it could be again

Anyone who negotiates Seattle on a regular basis asks at some point: Why can’t we just get around? It’s easy to blame geography — squeezed…

Death of a clown bar: The fight to save Shorty’s

We emerged from the restaurant, a successful date night almost complete. Around us, Belltown’s usual Friday night crowd was in full effect. The human subgenre known…

On “scale” issue, a battle between neighborhoods and City Hall

This is the story of two buildings. Both are unloved by many of their neighbors, both share the same address. Given Seattle’s rapid growth, with…

Parched summer could leave houseboats high and dry

Local lawyer/historian Howard Droker’s well-researched 2003 history of the Emerald City’s floating home community was called Seattle’s Unsinkable Houseboats. Well, the houseboats themselves may not…

Socialist councilmember Sawant calls for a new tech revolution

With the exception of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant is the most prominent socialist in American politics. In her years of…

Guest Opinion: Historic Pioneer Square is under threat

I have been called a socialist. I have been called anti-development. I have been called a NIMBY. Call me what you will for defending my…

Can Seattle legally force developers to fund affordable housing?

Last spring, as the clock ran down on Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's affordable housing task force, tensions built around proposals to require developers to help…

City may push aside history, the poor in Pike Place & Pioneer Square

We know that Seattle’s rapid growth is putting pressure on our architectural heritage with demolitions and façadism. The city is being remade at an unprecedented…

City Council looks for HALA answers

Are the recommendations of Mayor Ed Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda group going to make real improvements in housing options for low-income people? The Seattle…

Single-family Seattle isn’t as big as density boosters claim

You hate to hit an agenda when it’s down, especially when it contains some good ideas amidst its sweeping assertions and overreach. But once again,…

Land use: Seattle’s oh-so-human hesitations about change

Now that Mayor Ed Murray has shifted Housing and Livability Agenda (HALA) priorities away from changes to single-family zones and back toward Seattle’s traditional focus…

The many forms of rage beneath “Seattle nice”

The Seattle Times recently did a story saying “pedestrian rage is on the rise.” The sidewalks are crowded, the intersections are dangerous, Amazonians are walking…

How much of Seattle’s housing is affordable? No one knows for sure

Until last month, I managed a 20-unit apartment building in Lake City. A one bedroom rented for about $900 a month; a two-bedroom, $1,100. One…

Getting to no on growth. To get to yes.

In recent months, we have been inundated by scary newspaper stories, snarky columnists, lively KUOW interviews and hand-wringing public lectures about how the city is…

Seattle Council questions housing ideas

Five council members stood next to Mayor Ed Murray as he proudly introduced the 65 recommendations from his housing task group, the Housing Affordability and…

9 words that shook Seattle: Are our zoning roots really racial?

UPDATE, 6/20/15, 12:32 p.m.: Following publication of this article, the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project posted a response to the HALA report's citation of the…