Some interesting data found and shared by Market Urbanism:

With nothing quick to blog about and not being in the mood to write something long, I dug into the Google Scholar pool for some interesting empirical work, which is something this blog hasn’t featured in a while.  This paper shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but it’s interesting empirical work nonetheless (.pdf):

The foregoing analysis suggests that patterns and processes of racial segregation in the post-civil rights American city are strongly affected by density zoning. At any point in time from 1990 to 2000, intermetropolitan variation in Black-White segregation and Black isolation was strongly predicted by a metropolitan area’s relative openness to housing construction, as embodied in maximum zoning rules—the greater the allowable density, the lower the level of racial segregation. Moreover, our instrumental variable analysis suggests that the causal arrow runs from regulation to segregation even if the reverse is also true.

In keeping with these cross-sectional findings, we also found that the prospects for desegregation are greater in areas with more liberal density regulations. From 1980 to 2000, metropolitan areas that allowed higher density development moved more rapidly toward racial integration than their counterparts with strict density limitations, even after controlling for a battery of social, geographic, and economic characteristics and for potential reverse causality between segregation and zoning. Our confidence that anti-density zoning is a true source of segregation is increased by a recent working paper by Rothwell (2009b) that uses the same data and finds essentially the same results for levels of Asian and Hispanic segregation, and consistent with Pendall’s (2000) analysis, we do not find any consistent pattern emerging for other land-use regulations. …More

What do you think?  Does traditional zoning exacerbate racial segregation in our urban and suburban areas?

Living Architecture Monitor;a magazine that advocates for green roofs, has dedicated its current issue to innovative urban agriculture policies and projects. Included are articles on designing the edible building envelope, Seattle's recently adopted urban ag policies, Brooklyn’s Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, rooftop pollinating in New York City, the economic valuation of rooftop farming, and macro-scale food production in Toronto. More here

As we prepare for the holiday weekend, we’re giving thanks for the parts of our transportation system that have worked well throughout an otherwise challenging week so far around these parts.

We’ll also be giving thanks for the great effort by many of you over the past few months in the fight for a future of smart transportation in Seattle. There are heroes among us!

Here’s an update on the campaign:

Yesterday, the Seattle City Council passed the city’s 2011-12 budget. Our elected leaders faced the daunting task of closing a $67 million deficit while maintaining crucial city services. We are proud to say that the city’s 2011-12 budget takes a number of positive steps in the right direction towards providing transportation choices that will make our city safe and accessible for everyone. However, we will need to take much larger steps next year if we are serious about funding a transportation system that works for our future.

Positive steps this year include:

·      Spending on the pedestrian and bicycle master plans will increase by seven percent over 2010;

·      Funding for basic street maintenance will increase by over $1 million in both 2011 and 2012;

·      A $784,000 increase in the Neighborhood Projects Fund (small pedestrian and bicycle improvements); and

·      A nearly $2 million increase for Mobility Operations, such as wayfinding, the Transit Master Plan, and safety projects.

Prior to the budget process the City Council also passed a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) and will form a public advisory committee to advise the Council on transportation priorities. The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee 3 (CTAC-3) will report back to the Mayor and City Council early next summer with recommendations to design, fund and build a transportation infrastructure that aligns with the values and priorities of our citizens. The City Council enacted a vehicle license fee as part of this legislation to fund pedestrian and bicycle improvements and help support basic street maintenance.

None of this would have been possible without Streets For All Seattle volunteers like you, who “dominated the mic” and packed the house at budget hearings, sent thousands of emails to the City Council in support of our goals, and provided our elected leaders with the support they needed to do the right thing.

In fact, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Chair of the Transportation Committee, wrote us last week because he:

“…wanted to thank you and the other members of the Streets for All Seattle campaign for all your hard work over the last year to elevate the importance of increased investment in Seattle’s bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure…. I believe your work was critical in getting us to create a TBD and pass the $20 VLF earlier this year. I also believe we would not be moving forward with CTAC-3 but for your advocacy.”

City Council President Richard Conlin added that: “…with all of this work and commitment, and the strong advocacy of a new coalition called Streets for All Seattle…we have a great opportunity to move forward together with increased ped/bike investments.”

While we applaud these positive steps, the City Council missed an opportunity to significantly increase funding for pedestrian, bicycle and transit improvements when they failed to pass the larger revenue increase proposed in the budget. Despite modest increases in funding for walking, biking and transit, this budget barely makes a dent in meeting the great remaining needs for sidewalks, transit, and bike facilities in our city.

But this campaign has always been about more than this year’s budget process – it’s about engaging the entire city in a conversation on how to make Seattle into the city we want it to be. That’s why we’ll be back in 2011 to work with the City Council, Mayor McGinn, and people like you to build a transportation system that will make Seattle work for our future. Stay tuned for updates about our plans moving forward.

Firefly Kitchens was excited to learn last week that it was a finalist in the National Good Food Awards in the Pickle Category for their Yin Yang Carrots. Although this is the first year of the Good Food Awards, 780 products were entered from 41 states, in the categories of beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, and preserves. Lucky [...] No related posts.

This evening’s discussion about the Sign Code has been postponed one week to November 30.

Rescheduled—Due to snow Event: SEATTLE SKYLINE CHANGES
New Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM (PT)
For more information click here:
Call with any questions: 206/622-4322


One of the all time best urban design studies is now available online. William “Holly” Whyte’s Secret Life of Small Urban Spaces is a tour de force cinematic study of how people actually use urban spaces in New York.

whyte styles from chris woebken on Vimeo.


Obama Replaces Costly High-Speed Rail Plan With High-Speed Bus Plan

h/t The Infrastructurist


November 18: Environmental Urbanism: Ecological Design For Healthy Cities

University of Washington, Kane Hall 120
What does it mean to envision a healthy city – one that nurtures both people and the environment? Environmental Urbanism acknowledges and embraces the relationships between people and their material surroundings. This session will explicitly consider how the human processes of city making involve an ongoing negotiation with various non-human elements– soils, water, atmosphere, and animals. By considering the intended and unintended effects of urbanization, our goal is to better understand how and to what extent we can intentionally shape future urban landscapes.

Chris Reed, STOSS, Boston

Chris Reed is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and founding principal of Stoss Landscape Urbanism, a Boston-based strategic design and planning practice. Reed is a registered landscape architect with professional interests in strategic planning and urban framework design. His research interests include infrastructure and urbanism in the contemporary North American metropolis, with a recent focus on Los Angeles; the recalibration of engineering and infrastructural technologies toward an expanded and hybridized notion of a landscape-based urbanism; and a reconsideration of the meaning and agency of ecology in design practices and design thinking.

Reed’s own work has been awarded, exhibited and published nationally. He lectures internationally, and has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Rhode Island School of Design and Florida International University.”

Randolph T. Hester, Landscape Architecture, University of California, Berkeley

Professor Hester’s research focuses on the role of citizens in community design and ecological planning. He is one of the founders of the research movement to apply sociology to the design of neighborhoods, cities and landscapes. His current work is a search for a design process to support ecological democracy. Topics of special interest include Citizen Science, Stewardship, Sacred Landscapes, and Environmental Justice.

Howard Frumkin, Dean, UW School of Public Health

Howard Frumkin is Dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health. He is an internist, environmental and occupational medicine specialist, and epidemiologist. From 2005 to 2010 he served leadership roles at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, first as director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and later as Special Assistant to the CDC Director for Climate Change and Health. Previously, he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Emory Medical School.
His research interests include public health aspects of the built environment; air pollution; metal and PCB toxicity; climate change; health benefits of contact with nature; and environmental and occupational health policy, especially regarding minority communities and developing nations. He is the author or co-author of over 180 scientific journal articles and chapters and several books.

Panel Moderated by Peter Steinbrueck, Steinbrueck Urban Strategies


Rep. Elijah Cummings Launches the T4America Equity Caucus from PolicyLink on Vimeo.

We’ve long been admirers of the work that Transportation for America does, but we were particularly excited by their recently launched Equity Caucus. In the video above, Maryland Representative Elijah Cummins reminds us that civil rights, in many ways, began as a transportation issue and that, though we hardly hear much about it today, it remains one of the premier fora for civil rights injustice today.


This opportunity, (on June 26-July 1, 2011, in Seattle), looks like an interesting one.

The Institute of Medicine and other key organizations have identified environment and policy changes as the most promising strategies for controlling obesity and improving diet and physical activity.

There are now a variety of measures that can be used by researchers and practitioners to plan and evaluate changes to the built environment.  The BEAT Institute is designed to train participants to use these measures. The BEAT-Plus Institute will further expand on what has been taught at the 2008-2010 BEAT Institutes by incorporating more online training and post-Institute webinars.


1.  Prepare investigators and practitioners to use both observational and self-report measures of nutrition and activity environments and related behavioral assessments through lectures, fieldwork, hands-on skills, group work and individual consultation with BEAT faculty.

2.    Increase the number of professionals qualified to conduct built environment assessments for nutrition and physical activity.

Who should attend:    faculty, PhD candidates, government employees and practitioners

For more information go here.


The City of Seattle has launched a new website celebrating local neighborhood businesses.  Check it out:

Only In Seattle from Only In Seattle on Vimeo.

Welcome to Only in Seattle. Here you’ll find stories that will connect you to a collection of Seattle treasures – independently owned and operated retail stores and restaurants – and to the authentic, historic, and diverse neighborhoods in which they thrive. The insights and vignettes capture just a few of the many hidden gems that populate Seattle’s eclectic neighborhoods. But you will find more than just a few reasons why “buying local” takes on a whole new meaning. Because these gems offer far more than neighborhood conveniences. They represent the passion, taste and experience of their owners. And they offer you well-informed, unique experiences at every turn, where you can see, learn, and taste life in hundreds of new ways.

This site is the result of the efforts of the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development and their partners who manage the neighborhood business associations. Check back frequently for updates, new information and new gems.

For the West Seattle Blog’s coverage of the launch party, go here.


From the First Lady’s Let’s Move site here’s information on a program to increase walking and biking.

I grew up in a large city so I walked everywhere – to school, to meet up with friends, and to go to the movie theater.  It rarely made sense to drive anywhere. In Washington, DC, I’m fortunate that I can still walk to many destinations with my children and friends but I use the car more often than I would like.  Usually, I take public transportation to get to work but last week I had to drive because of an afternoon meeting in the suburbs.  It was a real shock to me.  The traffic was heavy and some drivers were impatient.   I arrived at work a little flustered.  I missed my quiet walk to the subway when I can think about my day and admire the changing leaves.

But I know that I’m fortunate.  Many people don’t have a choice in how they commute to work or even have the option to walk to the store or to local entertainment.  Too many children don’t have safe places to walk or bike.  Over the last few decades our ability to walk from place to place, and get much needed exercise at the same time, is dwindling, but that’s changing.

There’s a new program called Walk Friendly Communities that encourages towns and cities to make safer walking environments a high priority by building sidewalks, improving safety, and creating opportunities to bike from place to place.  More…


The Conservative Planner takes exception with the urban design of a Salt Lake City Airport play area’s simulated-town mat. Part II in an ongoing series where we pull from the latest commentary about our built environment, real, envisioned and imagined.

Here’s an excerpt:

B: Safe Routes to Schools: The lack of sidewalks, combined with the railroad crossing, create an unsafe situation for children whose parents would like to have them walk to school.

C: Abandoned Train Station: The town recently lost out on the eighth round of stimulus grants geared toward funding new High Speed Rail investments.

D. Random Park Bench: This is the tell-tale sign that a landscape architect was involved with this beautification project in the early 2000s to help bring life back to the west side of downtown. The project stalled when overruns by the Public Works Department left the project without its water feature.

Now, please excuse us while we go draft our open letter to the pile of felt-cutout townsfolk characters we’re calling the “local planning board.”

The Conservative Planner’s full critique here.

Part one here.

From Ray Schutte here is some interesting information on Interbay P-Patch crop yields and climate footprint.   Many of us garden year round here in Seattle.  At the Interbay P-Patch where I garden we calculate the average annual yield to be 3.25 lbs per square foot. Averages are impacted by the crops that are produced. This average was calculated based on [...]

From Bike Baltimore here’s news about the city council’s recent passage of an awesome cyclist bill of rights.  Much better than this proposed Bill of Rights

The Cyclists’ Bill of Rights passed the Baltimore City Council at last night’s meeting, giving cyclists some hope that riding conditions are improving.

This resolution states:

1. Cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear.

2. Cyclists have the right to equal access to our public streets and to sufficient and significant road space.

3. Cyclists have the right to the full support of educated law enforcement.

4. Cyclists have the right to the full support of our judicial system and the right to expect that those who endanger, injure, or kill cyclists will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.  More…


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