There may still only be a faint whisper of autumn in air, but despite the warm weather across Puget Sound, it’s undeniable that we are shifting into the final months of 2022. That seasonal progression has put me into a reflective state of mind, and so as I prepared to write this publication update for our fall fundraising drive, I couldn’t help but think about what has changed at The Urbanist over the last year.
If I had to select one notable change, it would be this one: The Urbanist is now a solidly regional publication. While we have always covered some stories from across the Seattle metro region (and Washington State), in recent months more consistent coverage of areas like the Eastside, Tacoma, and Snohomish County, has broadened the scope of our advocacy journalism. And when I consider how this transition has taken place, I’m impressed by the fact that it has occurred with a small writing team. Our reporters have really embraced a regional mindset, and it is showing up so much of the articles and op-eds we publish.
When I first started as a volunteer writer for The Urbanist, I seldom looked outside of Seattle for stories to cover. In fact, Central Seattle itself, my home for over a decade, seemed to provide more than enough material for me to write about. But while there are benefits to that kind of really close up reporting, there are drawbacks too.
The fact of the matter is that applying sound principles of urbanism, like investing in public transit, walkable communities, and affordable housing is every bit as important in suburban areas and small cities as it is in larger metros like Seattle. One could even argue that it’s more important since the majority of Americans live outside of major cities, most notably in suburban areas. This means that if our society is going to make successful progress in furthering sustainability and equity, suburbs, small cities, and rural areas will all need to be at the center of the solutions we pursue.
That’s why we were proud to be one of the first outlets across the state to cover the legalization of missing middle housing in Spokane. We have also been publishing regular updates on politics, affordable housing, new development, and more in Bellevue and tracking housing growth and transit expansion in Tacoma. At the state level, transportation reporter Ryan Packer has been tracking news related to the Washington Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) progress on making state highways safer for people who walk, bike, and roll, among other topics. They’ve also kept tab on local transportation plans in places like Kirkland and Lynnwood, and also helped draw attention to an housing backlash aimed at slowing development near the soon-to-open “Lynnwood City Center” light rail station, which thankfully was averted thanks to housing advocates speaking up.
There are many, many stories deserving of attention, and I’m proud that we’ve been able to publish more of these stories as a result of the hard work and dedication of our existing writing team and wonderful guest contributors. Part of why we have been able to do so this is because we have been able to provide more compensation for reported articles. This compensation has allowed our staff reporters and freelancers to more closely follow stories in their areas of interest and devote more time to their work for The Urbanist.
I’ve also found that the broader regional scope of our publication has increased the number of submissions we receive from volunteer writers as well. Each of these articles is a gift and greatly appreciated.
When it comes to paying our writers for their work, donations make up our most important source of revenue. The two annual fundraising drives are the bedrock of our publication’s financial health. If you value what we publish and you want to have more high quality articles to read, now is the time to subscribe or donate to The Urbanist.
The support we’ve received from readers, contributors, and volunteers has enabled us to achieve a lot — but there is still also so much work that lays ahead. Advancing the Puget Sound region toward more equity, sustainability, and increased quality of life for all residents will take an informed, active citizenry pushing for change. With your support, the Urbanist’s advocacy journalism will continue to play a crucial role as we power ahead.
Fall 2022 Subscriber Drive
Natalie Bicknell Argerious (she/her) is a reporter and podcast host at The Urbanist. She previously served as managing editor. A passionate urban explorer since childhood, she loves learning how to make cities more inclusive, vibrant, and environmentally resilient. You can often find her wandering around Seattle's Central District and Capitol Hill with her dogs and cat. Email her at natalie [at] theurbanist [dot] org.