commented on Seattle's Bats Are Affected by Urban Sprawl, Too
Someone has to explain to me exactly what "urban sprawl" means. I come from an old tradition where words have meaning. The type of human development that is destroying the nearby ecosystem (bats, salmon, etc) is the *suburban* land use pattern. Love them or hate them, I don't think the new Amazon buildings and the associated apartments in SLU destroyed any bat habitat that wasn't destroyed over 100 years ago.
commented on From the Desk of Justice Antonin Scalia, Deceased
Mormons don't really believe in Hell, or at least anything like the one in Southpark with lakes of fire. Mostly, you're not allowed near God and the Mormons. Instead, you have to hang out with the drinkers, pot smokers, and fornicators. So, mostly a win-win.
commented on Distracted Pedestrians Are Not the Same As Distracted Drivers
I like the analogy where there are a bunch of kids in shop class using different wood tools. Does the teacher say: "Everybody be careful, regardless of whether you're operating a screwdriver, a hammer, or a table saw." No, they say "Be careful with the screwdriver, be a little more careful with the hammer, and be veeerrry careful with the table saw."
Seems like people are confused about the world "should". Should pedestrians be careful? Yes, practically speaking, they should be careful so they don't get run over. Should drivers be careful. Yes, but for two reasons: 1) So they don't get hit by another car and 2) So they don't break their *moral obligation* to not run over other people with the dangerous machine they've been trusted to operate. I realize that citing things like moral obligations is completely out of style, but just thought I'd throw it out there.
Sep 3, 2015
commented on Hatchet Jobs
Anybody who thinks that we wouldn't have smart phones had Steve Jobs not lived doesn't know very much about technology. Go read some Ray Kurzweil -- you don't have to believe all the stuff he believes, but he explains the exponential advance of technology very well. Short version: it was all but guaranteed that computers would be super powerful and pocket sized. The idea to connect them together via the internet was not too hard to think up. Jobs was very skilled at turning that commodity into a high end consumer product. But again, the idea that we'd all still be using walkmans and landlines in 2015 if it weren't for Steve is crazy.
Jul 24, 2015
commented on Seattle Wants to Increase Affordable Housing, But Its Rules Are Hard on Tiny Houses Like This One
@21, exactly. These opinions about liveaboards are 100% fact-free. I lived on a 30' sailboat for years - plus it had no engine. There is no requirement to show your engine works. My boat is worth maybe $5,000. The idea that "if you can afford a boat you can afford a condo" is beyond absurd. More like if you can afford 3 months of rent you can afford a boat... Moorage at Shilshole for 30' slips is $350, and there is a $50 liveaboard fee. How much is a one bedroom apartment in Ballard these days? I'm pretty sure the savings will cover your annual haulout.
Jul 9, 2015
commented on An International Vacation in Seattle
As for your diagnosis of much of Seattle looking too uniform, this paragraph from James Kunstler seems appropriate:
"Diversity, for its own sake, is exactly what makes the standard American commercial strip such a ridiculous and tragic place. Many Americans, including the elites, believe that the problem with these landscapes is that “everything looks the same.” That is not the problem. There are lots of places in the world that “look the same”; for instance the hill towns of Tuscany. Nobody comes back from a trip to Italy complaining that the hill towns all looked the same. The urbanism of Baron Haussmann’s Paris is so rigorous that the casual observer could easily mistake the Blvd. St. Germaine for the Blvd. St. Michel, but as far as I can tell, no environmentalist ever came home from Paris complaining that the streets all looked too much the same. The problem with our common American daily environments is not that they are too uniform, but that they are of uniformly miserable quality. Uniform excellence, as in Paris and Tuscany, induces a different state of mind and produces quite a different result."
@1+2, sorry we don't all have budgets that let us jet around the globe. Also, has anybody informed you yet that flying is by far the largest component of your carbon footprint? I will accept living abroad for a couple years as acceptable, since you get so much exposure to a different environment for just one round trip flight.
May 21, 2015
commented on Guest Editorial: Can the Central District Become a Model for More Inclusive Development in Seattle?
What tkc said. All the good concrete steps listed have been called for by New Urbanists since the 1990s. Andres Duany has called for smaller increments of development, instead of one developer in control of an entire city block. They (the New Urbanists) have also called for more well thought-out public spaces. They have also pushed to tax land value, not the value of the building. Again, they've been saying this for about 20 years now.
Most of the built infrastructure in the US is decidedly American, not European. It would be much better if it were European!
Lastly, Dr Sutton's principles were a fine example of bullshit that only a PhD has the brains to come up with: Make sure your design "is instructive of life" and "connects earth and sky". That's a huge bucket of horseshit.
May 11, 2015
commented on Three Things Seattle Can Do Right Now to Help Renters
It's incredibly hard to conduct a serious debate about this important issue facing Seattle unless we define the terms we're using. "Affordable housing" has a bureaucratic meaning. The city of Seattle uses that term to describe public-owned housing for very poor people:
However, when you're talking at a bar with your friends about "affordable housing", you're talking about a one bedroom apartment that doesn't rent for $2200.
Let's please please get our vocabulary straight so we can have a meaningful discussion.