Posts Tagged ‘Seattle lifestyle’

Seattle unseats Atlanta as most wired city

Friday, January 23rd, 2009
Link to Seattle WiFi maps
Seattle is now the most wired city in America, according to Forbes. And they’re not talking about highest number of caffeine junkies per capita, either.

The ranking is based on a calculation of the percentage of Internet users with high-speed access,  the number of companies providing high-speed Internet, and the number of wi-fii spots citywide. Forbes has only been doing the top 30-rankings since 2007, and Atlanta took the top spot in both 2007 and 2008.

Now, Atlanta is at No. 2, followed by Washington, D.C., and then Orlando and Boston. Portland came in at No. 14 and San Francisco was 11th.

Thanks to Crosscut for catching this one.

Seattle open houses get weirder

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

I’ve heard of local open houses plying visitors with wine, cookies or a year of free coffee to try to sweeten the deal, and of realtors strategically placing mannequins and other props to help sell townhouses. But an open house planned for this weekend has to have the most creative grab yet.

Is now a good time to buy?

Capitol Hill’s ArtHaus Boutique Condos + Gallery will have Master Psychic and Clairvoyant Judith Ballard giving readings from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. this Sunday on site at 735 Federal Ave. E. According to a press release we received announcing the readings, Ballard can answer questions like:

“Will I get that great new job?”

“How much will rent go up?”

“Is now the right time to buy?”


“What does your future hold for 2009?”

The condo conversion project has nine units ranging in size from 414 to 1,368-square-feet.  Prices range from $219,000 to $699,000, and there is a $5,000 credit to help artists and teachers purchase units.

Tarot and numerology readings are first come, first served, but you can reserve a timeslot by emailing Clay.

Eden Development is owner and developer, Wynn + Associates is architect and McLeod Construction is general contractor.

What is affordability?

Monday, January 12th, 2009
Is Seattle affordable?
Words like affordable, sustainable and livable are thrown around regularly in conversations about how Seattle should grow.

But we want to know what these words actually mean, and how the city can acheive them.

In today’s DJC, SeattleScape blogger Roger Valdez introduces the topic of affordability.

On next week’s editorial page, we will run brief comments provided by members of the community, including elected officials, organizers and A/E/C industry players. (We asked them all to answer the question: “What is affordability and what can Seattle do to achieve it?” in under 50 words.)

Bloggers at SeattleScape will also take on the debate over the next few weeks. We hope you will join the conversation by commenting on the blog or emailing your comments to me at

See Seattle by water, daily

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Remember in Sleepless in Seattle, when Tom Hanks and his young son were shown riding in a little motor boat from their houseboat on Lake Union to Alki (I think), where they ran along the sand?

I realize their journey is unlikely for a number of reasons. But I remember watching that scene and thinking how cool it would be if Seattleites saw our myriad bodies of water as thoroughfares rather than impediments to travel.

Taxxiiiii! (pic from Wikipedia)
Sure, a lot of people here row or kayak on weekends and others do obnoxious things with jetskis in the summer, but what if we could actually use the water here as a means to get to work or to run otherwise tedious errands?

People living in Bremerton and on Bainbridge and Vashon already live the dream, but those living in the Seattle area decades ago lived a much more ferried life.

For those living in West Seattle, the dream will be realized soon, and other neighborhoods will soon follow suit. Year-round Elliott Bay Water Taxi service from West Seattle to downtown is slated to begin in 2010. The King County Ferry District, which levied a property tax in the county starting last year, also is funding the Vashon passenger-only ferry and is planning up to five new routes. Potential new routes could include Shilshole to downtown, and Kenmore, Kirkland, Renton and Des Moines to downtown Seattle.

Seattle Parks and Recreation, the King County Ferry District, and the King County Marine Division are hosting an open house next week to talk about the West Seattle portion of their plans, including improvements to Seacrest Dock.

The open house will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 15 at the Alki Community Center at 5817 S.W. Stevens St.

Our house

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

About 65 percent of Seattle is zoned for single family housing. Is that too much or just right?

In Chicago and DC, all of my friends lived in apartments or condos. In Portland, they all live in standalone houses, even the renters, though some have lots of roommates. In Seattle, it’s a real mix, with townhouses, rowhouses and duplexes increasingly entering the picture.

Does our Single Family majority keep prices high? Are we ill-equipped for all this growth people keep predicting? Does Seattle have too much single family land?

I asked two SeattleScape bloggers to take on the debate. Their pieces ran in today’s DJC and can be read here without a subscription.

Irene Wall argues that Single Family housing is Seattle’s Golden Goose and we’re doing great on density already. Roger Valdez, a new blogger at SeattleScape, makes the case that preserving all that land for standalone homes hurts the working class.

What do you think? Is Seattle’s house in order? HugeAss City weighs in here.

The way we live

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

The New York Times had an interesting story this week on the promise of modern pre-fab.

Reviewing MOMA’s “Home Delivery” exhibition, Allison Arief laments that the show lauds designs that are never actually built, ignoring those designers who bring pre-fab fantasies to life (see some local examples here, here, here and here.)

A pre-fab apartment might not look as appealing behind glass as Archigram’s living pods or Instant City airships, but people actually rest their heads there at night.

Archigram's Instant City Airships, c. 1969

Speaking of the way we live, the Oregonian reported Tuesday on Portlanders tearing up their lawns for gardens. The article cites a chain-reaction that occurs where one lawn goes garden and neighbors break out spades to follow suit.

The article asks the question: Do we keep our lawns just to keep up appearances? In Seattle, a lot of us let grass go brown in summer. But when one lawn goes gleaming green, neighbors quickly follow suit with sprinkler and fertilizer.

(The article also said lawn mower fumes make up one-third of greenhouse gas emissions in certain urban areas, though the source was not clear. Yikes!)

With people growing gardens street-side, going green on top isn’t much of a stretch. The Portland Tribune reports on the Rose City’s coming green roof grants.

How do we live in the Northwest? How should we live?

If you find yourself spending too much time ruminating on these questions, consider attending the coming Design for Livability Conference, Thursday’s Envisioning the Future of Architecture, or touring Friday’s local Park(ing) Day sites. In addition to the parking spots listed there, AIA Seattle and Site Workshop are transforming a spot in front of AIA Seattle at 1911 First Ave., and Owen Richards Architects and HyBrid Architects are rethinking a spot in front of their shared office at 12th and East Pike in First Hill.

Still thirsty? Check out my colleague, Katie Zemtseff’s blog for more upcoming events.