Zoning: Inclusionary v. Exclusionary

To create inclusive housing, end exclusionary zoning practices.

At last count, Seattle ranked as the fastest growing major city in America. The city’s growth has easily outpaced the projections of its decade-old Comprehensive Plan, which foresaw 47,000 new households (as well as 84,000 new jobs) between 2004 and 2024. Between 2005 and 2012 the city added 29,330 net new housing units---roughly 62 percent of its 2024 target in just 7 years.

This rapid growth has stemmed in large part from the city’s relatively robust economy. From March 2013 through March 2014, for example, King County (which includes Seattle) ranked fifth among all US counties in net job growth, trailing only the likes of Los Angeles County and Manhattan.

But the population boom has sent housing prices and rents trending upwards---creating real anxiety among many renters, and fears that Seattle’s housing market will price out residents that once could afford to live in the city.


Weekend Reading 9/26/14

Why women get paid less than men, free-range kids, and more.
Original illustration by Nina Montenegro of ghosttide.com.


My favorite wrap-up of this week’s UN Climate Summit.

We put this in the Daily—about how Cascadia could become a climate refuge, attracting immigrants from harder hit locales—but have you considered this? The region’s cities all have comprehensive plans that assume certain amounts of population growth then indicate where they expect those people to live. The projections may all be way too low, and unless cities plan to accommodate climate refugees in compact, walkable urban zones, they’ll end up  …  read more »

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Marching Forward Against Climate Change

How to make good decisions when you can't predict the future.

The day before the People’s Climate March, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an opinion piece by Steven Koonin titled: “Climate Science is Not Settled.” The title conforms to the merchants of doubt’s strategy of sowing doubt and confusion, but it is not even an accurate summary of the article. The article actually affirms that the main things almost everybody thinks of when they hear “climate science”—whether climate change is happening and whether it is caused by  …  read more »

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Courting Families in Portland

How Portland removed barriers to family-friendly courtyard housing.
City of Portland Courtyard Housing Competition, by Emily S. Kociolek, Krzysztof Kociolek

Image by Emily S. Kociolek, Krzysztof Kociolek via City of Portland Courtyard Housing Competition

When we moved into our house 10 years ago, no one on our street had kids. Now, there are eight on our side alone.

My daughter lurks at the bottom of our neighbors' front stairs, hoping she can round up a gaggle of kids. But figuring out where they can physically play outside can be awkward. Some of us have small decks and front yards, but they're high off the sidewalk and not quite childproof for younger siblings. Our narrow street gets a lot of cut-through traffic. And our back yard was laid out by someone who clearly had more interest in pruning than kids.

As I've said before, my holy parenting grail is finding places where your child can play happily and safely while you can keep a half eye on them AND get something social or useful done. In the earlier part of the 20th century, we used to build housing that facilitated this. It's courtyard housing, with densely clustered homes or apartments built around common open spaces.


Event: “The Thin Green Line” in Bellingham

A presentation and Q&A on Northwest coal, oil, and gas exports.

Weekend Reading 9/19/14

PARK(ing) day is here!; Worldwide border abolishment; and more.

A Month of Disappointments for Coal Exporters

The bad news for the coal industry keeps rolling in.

How State Public Money Pays for Coal Exports and Oil Trains

Tracking public fund investments in fossil fuel projects.

Have You Signed?

Countering Big Money in citizens’ initiative signature drives by targeting fraud.

Weekend Reading 9/12/14

#WhyIStayed; This is your region on coal exports; The marriage bonus; and more.