Author Archive

April 24 2014

Farewell to The Grid, from Colin Poff in Seattle, Washington

April 24th, 2014Posted by 

After six enjoyable months of writing for The Grid, this is my final post. Writing about what you are interested in, however formal it is, will always be beneficial. By putting together these blogs, I have been able to follow, as well as adapt, my main interest, concerns, and perspectives with issues related to urban planning. I have been […]

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April 10 2014

Sycamore Park: An Example of Innovation in Redmond, Washington

April 10th, 2014Posted by 

New housing developments in the suburbs are not usually a beacon of innovation. But as cities strive to increase housing choice, encourage better design and strengthen their community, that often means a change to the typical suburban model. Redmond, Washington, a neighbor to the east of Seattle, is taking a step in this direction. A […]

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March 27 2014

The Fight Over Parking Minimums in Seattle

March 27th, 2014Posted by 

Most people love free parking, so it’s no surprise why there is a controversy when urban planners want to build less. In Seattle, former mayor Mike McGinn lost his campaign for reelection, with his parking policies as a major factor. Some went as far as to call it a “war on cars,” and some alluded […]

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March 13 2014

What the Seahawk’s Super Bowl Victory Did for Historic Preservation in Seattle

March 13th, 2014Posted by 

It is not our reputation here in Seattle to get too wild. But after the Seahawks dominated in our first Super Bowl this year, we had to take the streets. While I watched from below, dozens climbed and rallied on top of the century-old Pergola (pictured below), breaking panes of its fragile glass. But fans […]

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February 27 2014

Seattle’s Issaquah Highlands Redefines the Term “Village”

February 27th, 2014Posted by 

About twenty miles East of Seattle, a suburban area called the Issaquah Highlands, is now referring to itself as a “village.” Hillside residents are excited by the transformation. It infuses new retail, parks, and homes with front porches rather than dominating driveways. Architecture and streetscape design is more focused on people, and cars don’t dictate the […]

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February 13 2014

Should Seattle Be Worried About Affordability?

February 13th, 2014Posted by 

Compared to some of its counterparts, Seattle is not terribly expensive. But as population quickly grows, decision makers will have to grapple with affordability. Recently elected Councilwoman Kshama Sawant made rent control a staple of her campaign. Others believe relaxing planning rules so developers can build is the best remedy. The enigma of affordability plagues […]

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January 30 2014

Seattle on Track for New Transit Options

January 30th, 2014Posted by 

Seattle consistently ranks in the top ten worst cities for traffic. Mitigating this issue is a top priority, and plans are underway. Plans for light rail extensions are ambitious, but that is what is needed to make it effective. Within fifteen years, greater Seattle’s transportation profile will be completely redefined, having far-reaching implications for the future […]

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January 16 2014

Rethinking Placemaking: Book Review of “Urbanism Without Effort”

January 16th, 2014Posted by 

Ideas about cities are always changing, but the fundamentals of urban living stand the test of time. Urbanism Without Effort, written by Seattle native Chuck Wolfe, suggests that we consider the basics when faced with the complexities of planning cities. Using illustrations of various urban environments around the world, it articulates an idea that I have […]

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January 02 2014

Seattle’s Metropolitan Improvement District is Bringing People Downtown

January 2nd, 2014Posted by 

When people are sprawling further away from city centers to shop and eat, downtown businesses need to stay competitive. Seattle is using a Metropolitan Improvement District (often known as Business Improvement Districts) to make its downtown a better place for businesses, residents, and shoppers. Most large cities in the United States employ Business Improvement Districts. There […]

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December 19 2013

How Hidden Architectural History Shapes Seattle’s Downtown

December 19th, 2013Posted by 

Louis Sullivan famously stated “Form follows function.” One of the main functions of a downtown building should be to be usable to the public. In Seattle, this is done through privately-owned public spaces and architectural nuances. Sometimes this is obvious; but often the best public spaces are in hidden places. The Seattle Architecture Foundation leads […]

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December 05 2013

Planning Mixed-Income Communities: 5 Ways Yesler Terrace Does it Better

December 5th, 2013Posted by 

Can the barriers between people at different income levels be broken by simply having them live near each other? Seattle is attempting to answer this question through planned mixed-income communities. Yesler Terrace is a bold project operated by the Seattle Housing Authority. It aims at completely redefining the area, which happens to be the oldest public […]

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November 21 2013

Pike Place Market Was Almost A Hockey Arena

November 21st, 2013Posted by 

Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s most iconic landmarks, and is most favorable for tourist activity. While today no one doubts its importance and historic value, in the past planners had proposed to replace the market and revitalize the area with new development; even a hockey arena. Nowadays, it is difficult to think why such […]

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November 07 2013

Zoning Changes Will Take Seattle to New Heights

November 7th, 2013Posted by 

All great cities are judged by their skyline – including Seattle. Postcards of Seattle will not look the same after newly approved zoning changes take effect all across the South Lake Union Neighborhood as building’s reach new heights. Almost all buildings are currently under 100 feet, but with the newly approved zoning changes this height […]

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