Archive for June, 2008

This Is What TOD Looks Like

This is Collingwood Village, a 27-acre transit-oriented development (TOD) in Vancouver, B.C. Quoting from this pdf:
“Collingwood Village is a prime example of how the opportunity created by a new rapid transit system can be the impetus for co-ordinating land use planning with a large scale development. This co-ordination of land use and transportation planning [...]

Wicked Unreal

The Seattle Times has a new quarterly magazine called “Footprint,” and the cover of the June 28 edition touts “7 Cool Ideas to Change Our Wicked Ways.” Um, wicked?
Ha ha! Isn’t it cute how wicked we all are! Wink-wink, all those enviros are so uptight, such a drag with all their preaching [...]

“We’re Toast…

…if we don’t get on a very different path.”
I suppose a veteran NASA scientist who first testified about global warming to the U.S. Senate 20 years ago has earned the right to get a little snarky. This week Jim Hansen was back in front of congress again, testifying that unless greenhouse gas emissions are drastically [...]

Why Do We Americans Work So Hard?

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with [...]

Highrise in Madison Park

Grok this 223-foot tower on the edge of Lake Washington in one of Seattle’s wealthiest predominantly single-family neighborhoods. This is Washington Park Tower: 23 stories tall, with 53 luxury condos, built in 1969. For perspective, that’s about the same height as the brand new Four Seasons Hotel/Condo in the heart of downtown Seattle.
Like [...]

CD Deano’s Almost Gone!

Not an historic landmark, but still, most would probably admit it hurts a little to lose all that brick.
Developer Jim Mueller is bullish on the Central District. Including the recently purchased Deano’s site at 22nd and Madison, Mueller is also developing the Twilight Exit site across the street (the blue building in the [...]

Ballard Denny’s Gone!

Putting aside whether or not is was a piece of architecture worth saving for any reason, noble or otherwise, the fact is that a designated city landmark was demolished.  What is the point of the designation if there is no viable mechanism for the protection of such properties?  What is the point when those who [...]

The Best News I’ve Heard All Year

[ Graphic: Seattle Times; Source: City of Seattle DPD ]
Seattle has reached 50% of its 2024 housing growth target. That rocks my hugeasscity world. But as might be expected, this news has raised concerns that Seattle may be growing too fast. Pshaw!
The sooner we put more housing where it makes sense — in Seattle’s urban [...]

Somebody Help Me Out Here

When I read the letter below that landed in my inbox the other day, I couldn’t help thinking that the author and I must be from different planets. On my planet, human activity is pushing ecological systems to the breaking point, CO2 levels are reaching unprecedented levels, and scientists are telling us that [...]

The Burden of Density Advocates

(disclaimer: If you have a rant filter, now would be a good time to activate it.)
In discussions of urban density, the point is almost invariably made that advocates have an obligation to prove to the masses that density can be livable, and that if they don’t do this then they can’t blame the public for [...]

High-rise on Beacon Hill

As discussed here and here, because transit-oriented development (TOD) is such a key strategy for reducing car-dependence and greenhouse gas emissions, and because there has been such a massive public investment in Sound Transit light rail, it would be doubly irresponsible to allow zoning to impede high-density redevelopment in the station areas. And of [...]

I Didn’t Even Know What City I Was In

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[ South Park Marina on the Duwamish ]

If You Want To Understand The Real Reason There Are So Many Sucky Townhouses Going Up…

…look in the mirror. All those scorn-reaping townhouses are simply a reflection of the state of our culture. There is no alien invasion involved here. Townhouses are financed, regulated, designed, built, bought, and lived in by members of our community. The trouble is, the community is broken. And no amount of building code updates or [...]

SoDo Mojo Risin

As most Seattle urbanist geeks probably know by now, the City of Seattle recently unveiled proposed rezones for South Downtown area as part of an ongoing strategy to stimulate development in the “CenterCity.” This PI piece has a good zoning map.
During the currently winding down development cycle, south downtown experienced surprisingly little development. So it’s [...]

Olympic Sculpture Park

To Cap and Trade or Not To Cap and Trade

I was home yesterday and so hit my tolerance limit for NPR pretty early on, but one clip on the repeating loop that caused me to involuntarily mutter more four letter words than does the average NPR news story was the report on how the Federal Cap and Trade bill died because the Democrats [...]

They call it a city for a reason…

From the 24th and Marion mailing list regarding a proposed small bar at 25th and union that Erin Nestor and Rebecca Denk of the Bottleneck Lounge want to open:
“There are a handful of neighbors that are very opposed to this project.  They do not want a bar as their neighbor…..no matter what type.”
I’m truly at [...]

Fuck GM

Is that too harsh? Sorry, just being honest.

Today I met with a DPD planner who specializes in green building, and we discussed the huge challenges we face with the built environment, and eventually the conversation got to the inevitable acknowledgement that we really don’t know how we’re ever going to achieve the greenhouse gas [...]

A Critique of the Seattle Condo Market

Hallucinating on 1st Ave

How unfortunate that we all don’t have a stash of whatever it was that Charles Mudede was smoking when he wrote this Stranger piece on the new Four Seasons building on 1st Ave between Union and University. How fun it would be to look up at a stark, rectilinear glass and concrete tower that [...]