April 17, 2017
A Visual Tool for Guiding Urban Change
At this moment of epic political gridlock at the national level, localism is back. Increasingly, cities are devising local solutions to the pressing challenges of the 21st century — from transportation and housing affordability to climate change. But localism can also lead to gridlock, especially in rapidly growing cities.
I have observed this in my hometown of Seattle, where a building boom is dramatically reshaping city life and policy conflicts abound. Across both face-to-face and social-media encounters, it seems ever more difficult to achieve consensus on a form of the city amenable to older and newer residents alike. A new tool — the “urban diary” — can contribute to breaking the gridlock by helping to forge a pluralistic vision of the kind of city that people want to inhabit.