It's photo snapping time as the Bainbridge ferry approaches Seattle, offering sweeps shots of the skyline along the shores of Elliott Bay
The Seattle skyline keeps growing as does The Urbanist. (Doug Trumm)

Where were you in 2014? Think back. Not just where were you living, working, or playing: how did you understand the places you inhabited? Has that understanding changed?

In 2014, the Alaskan Way Viaduct was still carrying cars high above the waterfront. Seattle was kicking off its 2015 Comprehensive Plan update, construction on Eastlink Line 2 was still two years away, Jay Inslee was the state’s new governor, and Barack Obama was living in the White House. Back then, very few people could define the term “middle housing,” few talked about pedestrianizing Pike Place, and you could still buy a house for $450,000.

A lot has changed. Some things haven’t. The Urbanist is still here.

The seeds of The Urbanist were planted in late 2013 with a short blog post titled, “Lower Cost, Higher Quality Housing in Seattle”. The post was just two sentences long:

Seattle is a world-class city that deserves great housing for everyone.

This blog will aim to follow current events related to housing in Seattle, and in doing so it will guide the dialogue on proven solutions for providing lower cost, higher quality housing for everyone who lives in the city.

The Urbanist has now posted more than 6,500 articles, but we still want lower-cost, higher-quality housing in Seattle and across the state. (We have some other priorities, too). 

From those early days as an all-volunteer blog, The Urbanist has grown a lot. The online ad revenue that came from strong readership allowed us to hire our first employee in late 2018. We now have two full-time employees (shout out to Publisher Doug Trumm and Contributing Editor Ryan Packer!) We’re now able to pay our freelance writers in addition to relying on volunteer-submitted content, and our expanded board is active and engaged.

This year, The Urbanist is celebrating our 10th anniversary. We’re looking back with gratitude to those volunteers who incubated the idea of a different kind of news source for the region, to our steadfast monthly subscribers who have kept the lights on as advertising revenue waxes and wanes, and to the many readers who seek to make the region a better place to live.

Has The Urbanist influenced your thinking? Do you have the same views on housing, transportation, land use, equity, and livability that you had back in 2014?

If The Urbanist has helped you, informed you, challenged you, or even entertained you, please consider a donation to launch our spring member drive this tenth anniversary year. This is your opportunity to invest in The Urbanist and our community. And we have big plans: from a full-time housing reporter and a community engagement director, to educational and social events around our region. To do that, we need reliable funding – and that comes from your support.

Our goal for this drive is to add 100 members who donate monthly, at any level. We are committed to keeping our content free for everyone, so we will never have a paywall. Please help support the next 10 years of The Urbanist with a generous monthly or annual membership, or a one-time donation.

Thank you for 10 great years. Here’s to the next 10!

PLEASE NOTE:  The Urbanist has switched to a new donor platform that has more features for subscribers, like being able to adjust your credit card yourself. If you have any questions, please email We’ll be planning multiple anniversary celebrations over the coming months. Keep an eye on our new Events calendar for details.

Article Author

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 disseminating ideas, creating community, increasing political participation, and improving the places we live. The Board of Directors guide policy and decision-making of The Urbanist.