New Registered Educational Provider: Affinity Institute Inc.

Affinity Institute delivers unique educational events offering specialized information, insight and networking opportunities. These offerings bring together leaders and professionals who work on the same projects from different angles. To learn more about all registered providers, click here.

NW Urban: Changing cities on the Sound

By Mark Hinshaw, FAIA, Crosscut
August 13, 2013

The transformation of three Puget Sound cities heralds a bold new era in urban living.

Throughout the Puget Sound area, many cities and towns have been rapidly changing. For the most part, the change has been propelled by the same forces that are at work in other major metropolitan areas: Household sizes have drastically shrunk, Millennials are delaying marriage and childbearing and buying bikes and transit passes instead of cars, and many Boomers are shedding their big suburban houses for smaller dwellings in neighborhoods that are closer to arts, culture, transit and other amenities.

Former inner-ring suburbs such as Bellevue, Shoreline and Renton are turning into rich stewpots whose wide array of cultures and new found entrepreneurial energy are fueling demand for different types of services and housing. Taken together, these sweeping changes will likely reshape communities — both their form and their politics — for decades to come.

Here in the Upper Left Coast, we have added our own, unique twists to the social changes sweeping North America.

For one, we have exchanged growth outward for growth inward. In other metropolitan areas, the central city, with its older, mature neighborhoods, is being rediscovered and re-energized with new investment. But as you move outward, the same, decades-old development patterns persist: wide arterial roads flanked by strip malls and repetitive, low-slung residential subdivisions.

But here in the Northwest, state and local policy has applied the brakes to outward development…More.