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The Urbanist Advocacy Agenda -- 2024

The Urbanist’s mission is to tell stories that inform and influence the public and their leaders — and win them to our vision of people-centered cities in the Puget Sound region. We seek to influence urban policy in the Puget Sound region to deliver abundant housing, safe streets, ubiquitous rapid transit, and a strong, just, decarbonized economy. 

Our 2024 Advocacy Agenda extends from our Policy Principles, identifying timely policy initiatives and guiding our year-long advocacy efforts. Through articles, meetings with key decision makers, action alerts, and events, we aim to advance our priorities, as well as supporting aligned organizations. We strive to mobilize support, constructively shape debates, and promote practical solutions to foster abundant housing, sustainable transportation, a just economy, and stable communities for all.

Abundant and Affordable Housing

Housing should be available in such abundance that safe, healthy, high-quality, and stable housing is affordable to everyone. This will require increasing supply, subsidy, and stability — building more homes near jobs, transit, and opportunity; increasing funding for social and affordable housing; and protecting people’s ability to stay in their homes. Land use regulations should allow for substantial growth in existing urban areas, while preventing sprawl and protecting wild and agricultural land. Mixed-use neighborhoods, which allow people to live more of their lives close to home, should be permitted widely.

In 2024, The Urbanist will:

  • Advocate for transformational Comprehensive Plan Updates that increase housing capacity across the Puget Sound region, including allowing midrise housing in all residential areas served by frequent transit.
  • Support efforts to increase funding for affordable and social housing at the local and regional level. 
  • Support a state-level transit-oriented development bill, to allow more homes near transit.
  • Support state-level efforts to increase funding for affordable housing and establish a permanent revenue source for the Housing Trust Fund.
  • Oppose the imposition of unnecessary and burdensome fees and regulations on homebuilding.

Sustainable and Safe Transportation

Cities must be designed so that everyone is able to get around safely, quickly, and cheaply without a car. Cities should prioritize investments and street space to meet the needs of people biking, walking, and rolling. Cities should work to end car dependency and reduce vehicle miles traveled by investing in frequent, reliable, public transit, repurpose land allocated to parking to other uses, and ensure mobility access for people with disabilities.

In 2024, The Urbanist will:

  • Advocate for the selection of future light rail stations that maximize ridership, rider experience, and opportunities for equitable, community-based development.
  • Advocate for enhanced local multimodal transportation funding, including renewal of a Move Seattle Levy focused on delivery of specific multimodal projects.
  • Support efforts to improve transit through rider-centered bus restructures, increased transit service, and an operational focus on transit riders.
  • Support the expansion of pedestrianized streets, bus lanes, improved bike lanes, and street trees.
  • Support efforts to expand and improve intercity rail service in the Puget Sound and Pacific Northwest.
  • Support state-level efforts to repeal arbitrary jaywalking laws.

Just Economy and Stable Communities

People who work in the city should be able to live and thrive in the city. Cities must foster belonging for all people and remove barriers to opportunity wherever possible. Everyone should be and feel safe in the city and enjoy the benefits of urban life. Cities must act boldly to raise progressive revenue to provide universal access to a wide range of public services.

In 2024, The Urbanist will:

  • Support statewide rent stabilization that increases resident stability, standardizes tenant protections across jurisdictions, and avoids disincentivizing the creation of new multi-family housing.
  • Support holistic, evidence-based approaches to public safety, including investing in unarmed community safety officers, diversion programs, mental health treatment and crisis response facilities, and drug treatment programs.
  • Support the protection and expansion of progressive revenue sources to increase public services and avoid austerity.
  • Support funding of anti-displacement strategies.