Monthly meetups used to be held at Elephant & Castle but we've moved to Panama Hotel. (Photo by author)

While The Urbanist is mostly known for its high quality journalism and hot takes on local issues, the organization also has been striving to expand our event programming. The goal of our programming is to provide educational opportunities for people in our region about its history and the policy decisions that are shaping its future.

We hope to provide a forum for people to hear from and ask questions of the elected officials, policymakers, and thought leaders who are shaping the conversation. We also want to build community amongst people who care about the future of our region. One of the satisfying things about urbanism in Seattle and events like what we do is seeing people connecting issues of housing affordability, transportation options, racial equity, climate justice, and others and see them as all part of one big picture. We hope that our events can be places where people who may focus on different issues can come together and find help forge a vision of what we want our community to look like.

One of the main ways we have done this is through monthly meetups – we had a meetup every month in 2018 with attendance ranging from 25 to 60. At every meetup was a guest speaker who shared what they are working on and thinking about and took questions from the audience. Our speakers this years were:

January: Kelsey Mesher – Cascade Bicycle Club (Now with Transportation Choices Coalition)
February: Kathy Nyland – Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
March: Katie Wilson – Transit Riders Union
April: State Rep. Noel Frame, 36th Legislative District
May: Shaun Scott – Filmmaker, Writer, Activist (and now Position 4 City Council Candidate)
June: Matt Hutchins – MOAR (More Options for Accessory Residences)
July: Lorena González – Current Seattle City Council member, Position 9
August: Tim Harris – Real Change newspaper
September: Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Activist Panel
October: Don Blakeney, Downtown Seattle Association
November: 350 Seattle Activist Panel
December: Bryce Yadon, Futurewise Policy Director

Ryan Packer offers some wisdom during a walking tour. (The Urbanist)

Another way in which we hope to connect people to what is happing in their community is through walking tours. In 2018 we sponsored or cosponsored 10 tours and had almost 200 people attend (and we limited attendance to between 10 and 25 people). One of the ideas behind the tours it to connect people to partner organizations. Below are a list of our 2018 tours:

4/14 – The Future of the University of Washington: The 2018 Master Plan with UW staff
6/9 – Boom: South Lake Union’s History and Future with Miriam Roskin from the City of Seattle and Ryan Packer from The Urbanist
6/23 – Explore The Landscape of the Central District with Maisha Barnett, planner and CD resident and activist
8/4 – Downtown Renton Civic Core with Anthony Marris-Swann from the City of Renton
8/7 – The Future of the Seattle Waterfront with Waterfront Seattle and the Seattle Office of the Waterfront
8/11 – Housing Community in Southeast Seattle with Miriam Roskin from the City of Seattle, Miguel Maestas from El Centro de la Raza, and Uche Okezie from Homesight
9/8 – Vashon Island by Ferry, Foot and Bus with Vashon raised planner Ian Crozier
9/29 – The Great Northern Land (Ab)use Bike Tour with local architect and housing activist Michael Eliason

We also partnered with some allied organizations around town for two additional tours which we served as co-sponsors. These included:

7/14 – First Hill/Yesler Terrace with the First Hill Improvement Association and
7/21 – Split and Stitch: Bike Seattle’s Freeway Lids with LID I-5

One of our goals at The Urbanist is to build relationships with like minded organizations and we worked to do so through co-sponsorships. In addition to the tours we co-sponsored, we also sponsored several other events and meetups.

This year we hope to do even more events. We are off to a good start with our first meet up of 2019 which featured Councilmember Rob Johnson as our guest. We have also hosted the first of a new monthly volunteer meetups where we partnered with Futurewise, and event put together by new development Director Alex Wheeler. Your donations and the proceeds from tour tickets sales in 2018 made hiring Alex, and all the work he is getting done, possible. We hope that your continued support in 2019 will help keep him on and helping to expand The Urbanist’s reach with more events, a greater diversity of events, and stronger partnerships in the community we serve.

We hope to see you at a meetup or tour in 2019!

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Patrick grew up across the Puget Sound from Seattle and used to skip school to come hang out in the city. He is an designer at a small architecture firm with a strong focus on urban infill housing. He is passionate about design, housing affordability, biking, and what makes cities so magical. He works to advocate for abundant and diverse housing options and for a city that is a joy for people on bikes and foot. He and his family live in the Othello neighborhood.