Archive for May, 2008

What Does TOD Look Like?

Not this: [ Aerial image map from Seattle Housing Authority Design Review Board submittal for 4626 M L King Jr Way S. ] The aerial image above looks down on the property immediately to the north of the “Columbia City” Light Rail Station at MLK Blvd. and S. Alaska St. The buildings marked 2, 3, […]

We’re Suckers For Lists

All you need to know: We’re number 6! That and — huh? — Honolulu is number 1? And hold on there, how could LA, ranked number 2, be better than us? The Brookings Institution just released a ranking of per capita carbon footprint for 100 major U.S. cities. Sure, this list will help raise awareness, […]

Pike-Pine Must Learn To Survive Without A BMW Dealership

Yes, BMW Seattle is finally leaving The Hill. New digs are currently under construction just north of I-90 between Airport Way and 7th Ave S. No longer will BMW Seattle suffer the embarrassment of modest historic brick buildings in a compact urban fabric. The new HQ will have that airport concourse look and feel today’s […]

“Millions Of Stars Once Reflected Off These Waters”

Those words are spraypainted across the concrete barriers in the photo above, taken at the Port Authority public waterfront access on the Duwamish just north of the cruise ship terminal. Today, millions of trinkets from China glide across these waters. This too shall pass.

Bring On The Life Care For Successful Aging

How sexy is that? (Can’t we just not talk about getting old?) The baby boomers are a demographic bulldozer. As that big hump in the population vs. age graph slides across time it transmutes everything in its path. And at long last, it’s retirement accommodations that are getting a redo. “Life Care” and “Successful Aging” […]

This Just In: People Care About How Much Gasoline Costs

As reported in this NY Times piece, vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) in the U.S. dropped 4.3 percent from March 2007 to March 2008, the largest month-on-month decline since record keeping began in 1942. The rising cost of gasoline is changing people’s behavior. And we’re only at $4/gallon. Among the impacts the authors list: “Big box […]

Farmers Markets Are Pure Love

Please excuse my earnestness: Farmers markets are all good. They support local farmers, they provide high-quality, real food, they get neighbors out walking and meeting their neighbors — they build community in the truest sense of the word. Farmers markets are a wrench in the works of both the corporate food machine, and the corporate […]

Blame Lewis Mumford

[ Image: Darick Chamberlin ] Lewis Mumford ruined my life. I was once a highly-paid electrical engineer. But then I started reading too much, and kept seeing references to this mysterious Mumford dude. Then I happened upon a used copy of The Myth of the Machine and got my mind blown. The Myth of the […]

Paul Krugman Joins Team Density

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has a very, very big brain. I’ve long appreciated his relentless voice of sanity in political and economic matters. In his latest column he moves outside his usual realm and totally nails it on urban density and car-dependence. Choice sentence: “Changing the geography of American metropolitan areas will be […]

Yesler Terrace To Be Reborn

[ Birdseye aerial looking north at Yesler Terrace ] It is no exaggeration to say that the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace will be one of the most significant development projects in Seattle in many decades. Yesler Terrace was built in 1939 on a 30-acre south-facing slope roughly bounded by Harborview Medical Center, I-5, Little Saigon, […]

An Open Letter To The Livable Seattle Movement

Dear Liveable Seattle Movement People: Thank you for paying attention to what’s going on in our city. I agree with you that we need to be thoughtful about development and growth. At first blush, there would seem to be much we agree on regarding urban livability and sustainability. But after taking a close look at […]


Can you find six construction cranes in this view looking northwest from Pine and Boren? If you’re not an advanced cranespotter, here’s a hint: there’s one that’s not quite legible at this resolution just above the building rooftops at the far right of the photo. Bonus: Can you name each project? Olive8 is an easy […]

Seeking Nominations For Least Used Park In Seattle

If a fountain gushes next to a roaring freeway and there’s no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? You’ll find the fountain shown above in the southernmost sliver of Freeway Park, tucked between 6th Ave, I-5, and the Seneca offramp. Why would anyone want to spend time here? Why would anyone […]

15% Better Than Business As Usual

King County has released a draft of its SEPA Climate Change Ordinance for public comment. The money passage: “An action, as defined under the state environmental policy act, shall be deemed by King County to not have a significant, adverse impact on the environment with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and climate if the proponent […]

The West Slope Of First Hill

Long underutilized, but finally starting to see some more action. The above rendering shows the Landes Apartments, currently under construction at the corner of 8th and Marion. Designed by Baylis and NBBJ, developed by Harbor Properties, with 81 units, 3850 SF of retail, and 72 underground parking stalls. Just across the street on 8th Ave […]

Defending the SLUT

I’m a bit surprised at myself for writing this. But this is actually more about defending the idea of the SLUT, more than the actual SLUT itself. I know there is considerable suspicion that surrounds anything connected to Vulcan and it’s perceived influence on city matters. But this maybe a step in the right direction, […]

Cars And Posthumanism Chapter 13: Loaded Pistol

[ “Do ya feel lucky, punk?” ] (This post is part of a series: see Chapters 1, 23, and 37) True story: A few days ago a neighbor of mine who’s a mother of four young children told someone who was driving too fast down her residential side street to slow down. In response, a […]

Dearborn Street Development Conditionally Approved

The redevelopment of the 10-acre Goodwill site at 1400 South Dearborn St. has been conditionally approved (h/t Central District News). Read all the gory details here (pdf). Most significantly, the developer’s request for a contract rezone from 65 to 85 feet was granted, with the key condition that 400 residential units be provided. This proposal […]

… then we take Berlin

UPDATE: My apologies for the size of the pictures I posted yesterday. I’ve taken the sage advice of Josh and just posted them to Flickr. If any have interest in seeing them, let me know. Otherwise, treat this as a musing and go about your day.  Apropos of Dan’s Vancouver envy, I thought I’d share the object of my own recently […]

Global Gehry Asymptote