Open Space Seattle:2100

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mayor Goes Big

In a recent article in the Seattle Times, reporter Bob Young notes that Mayor Nickels has chosen the most ambitious population target for the City, aiming toward a 60% increase in Seattle's current population (575,000). That would add an additional 350,000 people, getting the population to 925,000 people by the year 2040.

That's a lot of people in 34 years.

During the Green Futures Charrette, we were using a million by 2100 as the target. The Mayor has obviously stepped that up a notch.

As upsetting as it might be to many Seattleites, it seems clear that the Mayor's action is clearly rooted in a desire to be progressive in Seattle's development personality as it relates to the region. (Though, we must be honest, from an administrative perspective, this would also increase your tax base. But perhaps that is just a bonus.) During the Cascade Agenda, the conversations that happened people noticed that, as Mike Houck will tell you, "In Liveable Cities Lies the Preservation of the Wild."

With that recognition--that to preserve our farms and forests, we need to focus development into urbanized areas of the region--several organizations have set out to create a more dense Seattle. But Mike points toward a LIVEABLE city, and that seems to be a critical factor in what we have been advocating.

If, yes, we should be inviting more density into the city, and, with our Urban Hubs and Urban Villages, we have already marked the places that will accept much of that growth. But how will liveability be a part of that equation? Where will the places that invite communities to participate in the democratic process be within those new dense spaces? Where will people be able to touch nature?

These are the questions that we're asking, and it's what we hope the proposed Green Infrastructure Plan will begin to answer.


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