In an effort to continue providing great content, programming, advocacy, and analysis, we’re running a fundraising drive this week at The Urbanist.

We already outlined how we’ve spent money in the past and where we plan to spend money in the future. This will allow us to improve and expand our current efforts: reporting, events, education, lobbying, and organizing. To give you an idea of the base we’re starting from as an all-volunteer organization, here’s a condensed version of our accomplishments over the last six months.

Reporting and Publishing

Here’s our top five most read articles over the last six months:

  1. We covered Seattle Subway’s newly minted vision map.  
  2. We broke the news that Seattle passed the 700,000 population mark.
  3. We provided a breakdown of how South Lake Union was designed for cars.
  4. We illustrated how a huge SDOT expense made Mercer worse for everyone else.
  5. After our team did a lot of leg work vetting candidates, we published endorsements.

Elections Endorsements

The Urbanist is committed to a thorough endorsement process, which is transparently outlined. This process involves reviewing procedural rules before each endorsement cycle, crafting questionnaires, collecting and reviewing answers, interviewing candidates in-person, publishing questionnaires, voting on endorsements, and then finally writing and editing official endorsements. There’s a tremendous amount of logistical work involved with this process that can easily add up to a collective 40 hours or more per week during election season. Again, this is all done by volunteers and the result is publishing a lot of information about candidates that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

Education and Programming

Thanks to a volunteer commitment, The Urbanist has been stepping up its programming. We are currently running a social meetup every single month that includes a guest speaker talking about a policy of their choice. Some highlights include: Zachary DeWolf talking about the relationship between urbanism and public education, Erika Harris summarizing the region’s industrial lands report, John Burbank making a pitch for the Seattle income tax proposal, and Councilmember Sally Bagshaw discussing her efforts to improve Seattle’s public realm. Over half of our guest speakers have been women.

Guest speakers at The Urbanist’s monthly meetups since February 2016.

We’ve also dramatically expanded our walking tours this summer. These tours highlight current and topical issues, such as the Convention Center expansion, the new Pike Place MarketFront expansion, the Seattle Housing Authority’s High Point affordable housing development, and changing character of Ballard. We’ve even done a logistically complex tour-by-boat of the Port of Seattle’s facilities. These tours allow people learn about and engage with urbanism in a different way than just reading about it or hanging out at our monthly meetups.

One of The Urbanist’s recent walking tours, covering the Convention Center Addition and its public benefits.

This summary covers our primary work but our efforts extend much further. We spend a countless amount of time learning about issues, meeting with people, coordinating with volunteers, submitting public comment, lobbying policymakers, and handling legal paperwork.

Almost all of the work we do is free and available to the general public, and your donations can help us keep it that way.

We are working to raise money because all of this takes a tremendous amount of work. It’s incredible that we have committed volunteers who are willing to put in the time. Paid staff would make all of our work more accessible, higher quality, and would expand our volunteers’ capacity.

If you think our work is valuable, please support The Urbanist by becoming a monthly donor.

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The Urbanist was founded in 2014 to examine and influence urban policies. We believe cities provide unique opportunities for addressing many of the most challenging social, environmental, and economic problems. We serve as a resource for promoting and disseminating ideas, creating community, increasing political participation, and improving the places we live. The Board of Directors consists of six members that guide policy and decision-making of The Urbanist.