Here's another one from the October issues of the magazine: the latest installment of my Urban Upgrade column.
This one is funny because it's cheery about a piece of Jane Jacobs legislation from city council planning and land use committee chair Mike O'Brien. O'Brien is fast-tracking a requirement that developers build to at least half the allowable density in pedestrian zones all over the city.
It's funny because otherwise, with his aPodment legislation and his "Linkage Fee" legislation, O'Brien (once the darling of Citytank left in this town), is currently driving urbanists and developers cuckoo.
Give the guy a break, you orthodox urbanists, he's got a district election (District 6, starring Ballard) to worry about.
Oh, and one thing my column doesn't mention: The legislation is actually formalizing placeholder legislation introduced by former city council member Richard Conlin before he got booted. Before "urbanism" was a thing, Conlin was the council's premier advocate of "sustainability."
From the column:
Traditional neighborhood activists, wary of density, tried to butt in on the new script and proposed an amendment that exempted developers who were designing otherwise environmentally sound buildings (with amenities like rain-harvesting technology). No luck. The offsets were laudable, city planners said, but did nothing for the real environmental goal at hand: density.