Author Archive

July 05 2013

Farewell to Global Site Plans and The Grid from Amanda Bosse

July 5th, 2013Posted by 

When I began writing for The Grid, I had recently relocated to Seattle, Washington from Phoenix, Arizona (which, as you could imagine, was an adventure in itself). I often explore a place through sketching, but working for Global Site Plans allowed me to explore a place through writing. Both methods have taught me that direct […]

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June 21 2013

Seattle’s Floating Homes: Expanding the Built Environment on the Water

June 21st, 2013Posted by 

Are floating home communities a new urban design strategy to expand the built environment past the shoreline? Unlike a houseboat, floating homes have no propulsion power, but are built with a buoyant platform (or raft) that is semi-permanently moored to a dock. They are also always attached to city utilities (that is, they are plugged […]

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June 07 2013

Designing a Neighborhood within a Neighborhood: A Book Review of Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World

June 7th, 2013Posted by 

Are pocket neighborhoods the answer to creating detached housing units that are more vibrant? In Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World, author and architect Ross Chapin explains how pocket neighborhoods, which are groups of homes clustered around a shared outdoor space, create a sense of place within a city. For those seeking […]

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May 24 2013

The Surviving Personality of Pike Place Market

May 24th, 2013Posted by 

In a time where you can buy almost anything online, Seattle’s Pike Place Market reminds us that character and convenience are not synonymous. It is a place that connects Seattleites (and tourists) to the city’s history. Beginning in 1907, the city’s first public farmer’s market was once nothing more than a few local farmers selling […]

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May 10 2013

A Walk in the Park: The Legacy of the 1903 Olmsted Plan

May 10th, 2013Posted by 

In 1903, landscape architect John Charles Olmsted wrote that “Seattle possesses extraordinary landscape advantages in having a great abundance and variety of water views and views of wooded hills and distant mountains and snow-capped peaks. I do not know of any place where the natural advantages for parks are better than here. They can be made very attractive and will […]

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April 26 2013

Amazon Adds to Seattle’s Skyline

April 26th, 2013Posted by 

How many high-tech corporations choose to locate their headquarters downtown? Very few. Often times we see corporate giants build their headquarters outside of city centers. Rather than following this trend and building a suburban campus, Amazon.com has decided to locate its headquarters in the South Lake Union Neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The three-block urban design […]

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April 12 2013

Self-Sufficient Building: The Design of the Bullitt Center

April 12th, 2013Posted by 

If it wasn’t for the iconic photovoltaic array delicately hovering over the building for all to see, you might not know the Bullitt Center is a “green” building. While this (almost completed) six-story, 50,000 square foot office building is nestled comfortably within the neighborhood of Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington, it is anticipated to become […]

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March 29 2013

Taking Stock in Public Housing: The Redevelopment of Seattle’s Yesler Terrace

March 29th, 2013Posted by 

The image of public housing may have been tainted by the likes of Pruitt Igoe and Cabrini Green; but Seattle, Washington has taken a different approach to public housing that aims to develop urban, mixed-income neighborhoods. The Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) has spent the past six years planning a $300 million redevelopment of Yesler Terrace, […]

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March 15 2013

Seattle’s New Front Porch: The Redevelopment of the Waterfront

March 15th, 2013Posted by 

Historically, port cities located their industrial zones near the waterfront for the convenience of transporting goods. Often times, highways or railroads were later constructed near the industrial waterfront. But as contemporary manufacturing and shipping processes are significantly more efficient and require less space (since transportation moved from bulk to shipping containers), these port cities are […]

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March 01 2013

Lessons of Observation: What William H. Whyte Would Say

March 1st, 2013Posted by 

We’ve all seen empty public spaces before. So what makes some urban spaces fail while others succeed? William H. Whyte, author of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980), conducted pioneering studies on human behavior in urban plazas by using direct observation and time-lapsed photography. His intuitive analytical approaches to the research provided obvious […]

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February 15 2013

Identity Rooted Through Walkability in Seattle, Washington

February 15th, 2013Posted by 

Unlike most major cities, Seattle is truly a city comprised of distinct neighborhoods, and their commonality is an individuality rooted in walkability (and therefore livability). Walkable urbanism is a long-established practice in Seattle due to the city’s natural growth boundaries (Elliot Bay, Lake Washington, etc.) and progressive zoning regulations. The city is often cited as […]

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February 01 2013

New Streetcar Lines in Seattle, Washington

February 1st, 2013Posted by 

Most people associate cable cars with San Francisco. However, it was only 125 years ago that cable cars were a popular form of transit in Seattle. In 1884, a horse-drawn trolley between Occidental Avenue and Pike Street in downtown Seattle marked the beginning of public transit in the city. Because of the similarities to San […]

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January 18 2013

The Placement of the Automobile in Seattle vs. Phoenix

January 18th, 2013Posted by 

If Phoenix is loops and lollipops, then what is Seattle? After recently moving from Phoenix to Seattle, it is more apparent to me how sprawl has defined Phoenix’s landscape, with its vast amounts of highways interchanges (loops) and cul-de-sacs (lollipops). Disenchantment with the post-industrial city has consequently spawned debates about what constitutes “good” urban design. […]

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