Archive for August, 2008

Guerrilla Pedestrians Take Over 1st Ave

My urbanist geek friend Don Vehige got all excited about some pedestrian behavior he observed downtown at 1st and University and snapped the photos below. Apparently people lose their ability to read during sunny Saturday afternoons, because the construction area at the front of the new Four Seasons hotel has the biggest and most explicit […]

Vanity is the Quicksand of Reason

Leave it up to a starchitect like Rem Koolhaas to create engaging, lively, useful public spaces like the pivotol corner of 4th Avenue and Spring Street.  Someone tell me how this promotes an active street face? I don’t know whether to blame the City of Seattle for being so ga-ga over the Dutchman and allowing this […]


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Stop Reading This Blog

The scoldiest urban scold that ever scolded, Lewis Mumford, had a bone to pick with Marshall “the medium is the message” McLuhan back in 1970: But it remained for McLuhan to picture as technology’s ultimate gift a more absolute mode of control: one that will achieve total illiteracy, with no permanent record except that officially […]

Seattle’s Best Modern Skyscraper

is Two Union Square — at least that’s the word on the street. Designed by NBBJ, completed in 1989; 56 floors, 740 feet tall (third tallest in Seattle), with ~1,100,000 square feet of rentable space. But there’s a pretty low bar for modern skyscrapers in Seattle, and to me, ranking them is sort of like […]

Paranoid Delusions About The Nanny State

If you’re looking for indicators of the chances we can turn our self-destructing culture around before the entire planet is devoured, witness the howls of “nanny state” in response to Seattle’s 20-cent bag tax. Might I suggest that this reaction is not the most promising indicator? In the context of the ecological limits of the […]


Sidewalks Can Be Cool Too…So Why Aren’t They?

Cost, you say? Accessibility? Lack of imagination? Oh Europe and your ancient progressive ways…

The New York Times Is Channeling Hugeasscity

HAC on 8/4/08 HAC on 8/7/08 NYT on 8/8/08

A Big Shed Roof Over Apartments, Not Condos

It only took the PI four days to catch up with the news, first reported on the Seattle Condo Blog, that Moda (shown above) is converting from condos to apartments. How far can the pendulum swing in this direction?  From the PI: “The market and the financing conditions for condominiums have really taken a drastic […]

Which Slice To Eat First?

[ Source: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and EPA ] Via Sightline, the 2005 U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions chart above illustrates an alternative way cut the pie, emphasizing the importance of goods and materials, and suggesting we ought to look at ways to use less stuff. But to intelligently assign priorities, it’s also helpful […]

Hugeasscity Is Bigger Than Me

Apparently my friend WB (who named this blog) has some “ideas” he wants to express.  So I beseech you, esteemed readership, please pay attention to the “posted by” credit at the top of the posts.  

The Massively Important Issue of Sidewalk Etiquette

I walk to work everyday and have, for a long time, been perplexed by why so many people don’t know how to use sidewalks.   The generally accepted method is much akin to how cars and bikes use roadways.  Your path of travel should always be to your right (Anyone wager on how many folks are […]

If Seattle Had A Brain…It Would Be Portland


Someone Has To Pay For It

So writes Roger Valdez in a balanced little riff on affordable housing in the DJC. “First, we know growth is good. Accommodating people in the city is more sustainable than sprawl, but sometimes neighborhoods resist growth. That resistance works to limit supply by making permits more expensive and time-consuming. Welcoming growth can help increase supply, […]


Money Well Spent

Operable Windows — International Style

This is the 1958 Logan Building at the corner of 5th and Union, and I like it. It was built with a complete air-conditioning system, which was an ultra-modern feature at the time. And no, your eyes do not deceive you: it has windows that open. Perhaps in 1958 people still had enough self-respect and/or […]

Lost In The Denny Triangle

The unaccounted for: AVA (8th and Pine): 36 stories, 200+ condo units, 190-room hotel. 7th at Westlake: 31 stories, 16 floors office, 184 condo units. 8th and Stewart: 400-foot tower, 300+ condo units. 8th and Westlake: 225+ condo units. That adds up to over 900 housing units in projects that have been put on hold […]

Noisetank History

Noisetank’s greatest moment came back in 2005 when, during an NPR Fresh Air interview, Terry Gross asked Paul Anka about “one last thing in the annals of Paul Anka lore, and this is a website that you probably really hate…” (starts at 20:55): The Guys Get Shirts had become an internet phenomenon. The Noisetank IT […]