The Look, Feel, of Seattle: Today So Far

Is there hope for the future of new housing in Seattle? (I think so)

This post originally appeared in KUOW’s Today So Far newsletter on June 23, 2022.

We better stretch first for today’s bulletin. Breathe deeply. I know this will ruffle some feathers. Because we’re going to talk about one of the most tense issues around Seattle – housing!

Architecture and development are very much like art. Some people look at a building and are satisfied, even impressed. Then you have people like me, who look at a lot of new buildings in Seattle and say, “I don’t understand. It really hurts to look. And how much does it cost?! For that?!”

Take my old neighborhood, the Roosevelt neighborhood of Seattle. New light rail station – awesome. Bars, cafes, burritos, burgers – all awesome. New construction – meh. I think at some point someone must have looked at nearby Roosevelt High School and the beautiful homes nearby and said, “This building is so beautiful and majestic and historic…these homes are so quaint and charming.. .there is a nice atmosphere… let’s build the opposite of that.”

This is just the opinion of a newsletter writer with no experience in architecture. I’ve made no secret of my take on Seattle’s modern development, which I believe is inspired by a pile of ruffled shoeboxes, decorated with discarded paint from a cheap dumpster. But there are also plenty of people who say Seattle desperately needs this accommodation, no matter what it looks like. And they are right.

That’s why I’m hopeful after hearing about a new generation of architecture students in Seattle with new ideas. They recently presented some new plans and designs at the University of Washington to a host of local decision makers, as Joshua McNichols reports.

Take college student Azita Footohi, who explained his idea to KUOW — replacing some of Seattle’s single-family homes with multi-unit units that don’t stick out. Footohi’s design looks like an ordinary house.

“The idea of ​​doing this was to blend in more with the neighborhood and…probably the response from the neighbors would be a bit better,” Footohi told KUOW.

Student Lara Tedrow had a similar idea. His design has eight units in a building that looks like any old house next door. Other students found compromises, such as giving up backyards. Others took into account the city’s aging population and sought to avoid displacing them. Add that and the new Seattle could look a lot like the old Seattle we already love.

These ideas come at a time when Seattle is updating its overall plan, which has a lot to do with the city’s growth. It also has a lot to do with Seattle’s affordability. Because even if we can get the housing we need in the city, will it even be affordable?

As a journalist, I’ve always struggled to get readers on topics like zoning codes and comprehensive plans. But it is this information that will significantly influence your daily life in the years to come. Moreover, I will tell you that people will argue fiercely over these details. This is the stage where Seattle tries to find “intermediate accommodation”.

Here’s the problem: Most of the housing mentioned above is not legal to build in Seattle. The city is expected to reach a population of 1 million in less than 15 years. At least 152,000 additional homes will be needed to cover all these people. Which goes back to the premise of today’s newsletter – how can we get more housing in Seattle that people will be cool with?

I highly recommend you listen to Joshua McNichols from KUOW as he gives some insight on a recent episode of Soundside. If nothing else, it’s a great primer on the local debates to come.

RELATED: New Northgate supportive housing aims to provide the next stage of ‘shelter’

AS SEEN ON KUOW


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Shawn Wong, author and professor of creative writing at UW, helps military veterans “tell their story” and break their silence. Along with actor Tom Skerritt, he helps run a writing workshop based near JBLM. (Bill Radke/KUOW)

DID YOU KNOW?

Do you smell a rat? In Seattle, you probably do. We have plenty and Orkin has the data to prove it.

The pest control company added up all the rodent control services it provided in the largest cities in the United States to determine which cities were most rat-filled. Seattle arrives at the no. 11, which is pretty high on the list. The Emerald City has actually moved up a spot in the annual rankings, according to the latest assessment. Orkin actually thinks the town rodents have a good time ahead of them. More and more people are returning to cities following pandemic spikes, and we bring a lot of food with us, which in part ends up being their food. It is a good reminder to keep your house perfectly clean.

And because you’re curious, Chicago is the most failed city in the United States. If you don’t like rats, then Tampa is your city.

ALSO IN OUR MIND


caption: A video of former President Donald Trump speaking at a rally, as the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol holds a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington , Thursday, June 16, 2022.

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January 6 ratings put TV tricks to good use, even though critics call them show biz

Skeptics are calling congressional hearings on the January 6 show business seat of the U.S. Capitol. On Fox News, critics call them “show trials.” Yet the House Select Committee charged with investigating the attack is achieving something rare on Capitol Hill: surprisingly tangible, understandable, and substantive hearings instead of the typical Congressional ping-pong game of confrontations, arguments and even more arguments on the turn to argue. .

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