Archive for November, 2008

Scary Scary Cottages

[ Pine Street cottages, at the corner of Pine and 22nd in the Central District. ]
Can there possibly be a building type more cuddly and unthreatening than a cottage? Aye, but the density NIMBY’s of single-family Seattle are sensitive bunch, and the thought of cottages in their neighborhoods sends them into convulsions of fear.
Galvanized [...]

Buy Nothing Day

In the current economic climate, Buy Nothing Day is likely to raise more hackles than ever before in its 17-year history. I suspect that even those Americans who recognize the ultimate futility of our consumer-based culture may be experiencing — as I am — a nagging little internal voice doubting whether it’s such a [...]

A Few Questions About The Seattle Public Schools

Why is it that one of the wealthiest, most highly educated cities on the planet can’t do a better job with its public schools? For fuck’s sake, it’s so completely, despicably infuriating.
Why are the Seattle public schools a never ending saga of budget crises, overcrowded classrooms, dilapidated buildings, overworked teachers, cutbacks on the arts [...]

Green Roofs and Puget Sound

[ Garage green roof in Mount Baker designed by Harrison Architects. ]
Earlier this month the Puget Sound Partnership released a draft Action Agenda, “a roadmap for protecting, restoring and cleaning up Puget Sound.” In this astute PI opinion piece, Roger Valdez connects the dots to compact development, and calls for policy changes that [...]

Cities After The Age Of Oil

Common Current has released a study (pdf) that ranks the 50 largest U.S. cities by their post-oil preparedness. Without further adieu, the top ten:
1. San Francisco
2. New York
3. Washington, DC
4. Seattle
5. Oakland
6. Chicago
7. Portland, OR
8. Philadelphia
9. Baltimore
10. Boston
The rankings were based on existing levels of sprawl, transit use, walking, biking, carpooling, telecommuting, and [...]

Retrofitting the Suburbs

While there’s still an abundance of superblocks and surface parking, downtown Bellevue’s skyline is has left suburbia far behind. Shown above is the nearly completed Bellevue Towers luxury condo project, with twin towers topping out at 450 feet. That’s just five feet shy of Seattle’s tallest residential tower, Olive8, and ten feet taller [...]

Open Space on the Waterfront

WSDOT has posted renderings of the eight viaduct/central waterfront scenarios on flickr, here. Below are views of the open space along the waterfront for Options B and C:

Though C more so than B, both give me the impression of too much open space. What would people do out in the vastness of that plaza? Those [...]

Inaugurate Change

Another good idea from Worldchanging. (Strange how they seem to be more well known internationally than they are here in their own home town of Seattle.)

Bike Love

I never saw Momentum magazine before a friend dropped a copy on my desk the other day, but it was hard not to immediately like a publication that, in its latest issue, manages to strike several hugeass chords: my neighborhood bike shop, 2020 Cycles; architect David Baker, one of my personal favorites and juror at [...]

A Little Bird Told Me

UPDATED: see below.
…that Viaduct Option C, a.k.a. the Alaskan Way and Western Avenue one-way couplet, is going to be the horse to beat. Here’s the scheme (for more detail, look here):

At the November 13 Viaduct Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting, the results of mobility studies on the eight viaduct options were presented. Reports [...]

What a Difference a Year Makes

Hugeasscity is one year old today. And everything I said in the first post is still so true.
HAC STATS:

Total posts = 330. Total comments = 1965.
Over the six months since I started counting in May 2008: 41,597 unique site visits.

Seattle Sadhappy Talk

Lucky Seattle: “You were late to the party, you didn’t get as drunk and you’re less hung over.” That according to Portland economist Joe Cortright, as quoted in a recent PI piece with the headline “Area faces bleak real estate forecast.”
Even luckier still: according to both Smart Money and Forbes, Seattle is going [...]

The Heart of a Neighborhood

At the corner of 21st and Union in the Central District, this is the kind of small-scale commercial building that forms the heart of an urban neighborhood. They tend to be a little old and rough around the edges, yet have character in both the architecture and tenants that more than makes up for it. [...]

Much Ado About GM

Buzz, buzz, buzz, though nothing with quite the eloquence of my rant last June.
When people-who-get-it discuss the appropriate level of response to climate change and peak oil, the two most often cited examples are the Manhattan Project and the Space Program. And what do these two achievements have in common? (Hint: It says [...]

Office of Urban Policy

 
FYI -
Some talented web activists in Seattle have developed two new forums, one of which is focused on generating ideas for Obama’s Office of Urban Policy. The other is focused on generating ideas for Obama’s Chief Technology Officer. You can go to either forum and comment on ideas already posted or post your own. They [...]

Disaster Socialism

In her recent book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein describes how catastrophes provide cover for politicians to invoke radical change. In the examples she discusses — including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the Iraq war — the beneficiaries of post-disaster restructuring have invariably been private [...]

Design Review Revue

Housing development in Seattle may be in a slump, but there projects are still moving through Design Review. A sampling of the latest:

Angel Square at 401 East Pike (Pike and Bellevue) on Capitol Hill. 51 residential units, 2 live-work, 2635 sf retail, 59 underground parking stalls, designed by Nicholson Kovalchick Architects. The facade has some [...]

The Triumph of the Creative Class

The election of Obama, that is, according to noted sprawl apologist Joel Kotkin. It’s a compelling proclamation, and Kotkin has some insightful things to say about it. But alas, you can’t get very far through the piece before his trademark enmity for urbanism shines through.
First, he decides that Richard Florida’s own definition of the creative [...]

Here Comes Reality

[ Blue Duwamish, a lighting installation on the Sound Transit Light Link bridge over the Duwamish River; photo: Dan Corson ]
In the same week that the Puget Sound region votes to tax itself to fund $18 billion in transit, come reports that GM and Ford are “running on fumes.” The dots are being connected. [...]

The Real America

As clearly as the economic meltdown heralds the death of Reaganism, the election of Obama marks a turning point in the culture wars. The social conservatives have had their aberrational 8-year last gasp. The real America is moving on.
And the real America is what you see in the video below (via SLOG), taken [...]