We’re pleased to announce a redesign of our website with the goal of shortening page loading times and improving the reader experience. Toward that end, we’ve decided to discontinue our comment section. For more on that decision read on.
One prominent addition is our new “Features” feed, which is along the right-hand side of the homepage on the desktop version or below the “Recent Posts” feed in the mobile version. We’re seeking to elevate our deep investigative work and essential commentary on urbanist issues, so check out “Features” for these kinds of articles.
Moving away from chronological order as the only sorting factor and including just the headline and featured image (instead of all this plus first handful of paragraphs) allows readers to easily view and browse multiple articles to more quickly scan our coverage. Readers can also sort our news feed by category by selecting the arrow just to the right of the “Recent Posts” heading and choosing from the dropdown menu.
Farther down the homepage, we’ve added specialized article feeds sorted by a few of our most popular categories: Transportation, Housing, Land Use, and Politics. This section allows a quick browse of our latest coverage in these hot-button topic areas without needing to sift through unrelated articles. We’ve done the same for our event listings and our videos.
Additionally, readers will notice a redesigned top bar menu and “About Us” page with new staff profiles.
Ending the comment section
As part of the redesign, we have ended the comment section at the bottom of our articles. While we appreciate the dialogue that certain engaged readers have provided over the years, the comments system slows page load speeds and came with other significant drawbacks. As a small organization, it can be difficult to monitor and moderate all of the comments submitted. We’ve noticed an increase in violations of our comment policy, which has at times included ad hominem attacks against authors and fellow commenters. This trolling and harassment is at odds with our efforts to recruit new contributors and creating a welcoming atmosphere.
It is also time consuming to correct misinformation shared in the comments, and we feel our staff resources are better devoted elsewhere. We want to incorporate reader suggestions and feedback into our work, but a free-for-all following each article isn’t the ideal vehicle to achieve to that.
We hope readers will engage in other ways. Join us for our online meetups and events. Those seeking to contact our editing staff with a correction, question, story idea, or compliment are encouraged to use the “Contact Us” page, or reach out via social media. We’ll forward encouragement and good faith inquiries to the respective authors. Nasty comments will be forwarded into the ether.
Support our work
While much of the work has wrapped up on the website redesign, there are other small updates ahead. Most of those should largely go unnoticed by our readers, but if you see an issue, send us a note. We hope that the changes will make it easier to follow our coverage from our growing network of writers and will better serve you.
Doug Trumm is the executive director of The Urbanist. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.