The Urbanist was founded in 2014 as a Seattle-based online publication seeking to examine and influence urban policies. We believe that cities provide unique opportunities for addressing the most difficult problems we face, from the climate emergency to the housing affordability dilemma to the pedestrian safety crisis. We strive to identify and seize those opportunities together through our publication, which is built on independent journalism, research, and advocacy. Relying on a variety of contributors, we dive into issues like housing, land use and zoning, economics, social welfare, environmental sustainability, transportation, and much more. If you’re interested in contributing, learn how and let us know by sending us a pitch or asking about volunteer opportunities.
What Is Urbanism?
On one hand, urbanism is simply the study of cities. But it’s also a system of values. Cities are walkable, or should be made so. Cities offer a variety of cultural venues, retail, and restaurants rather than a monoculture. Urbanists believe cities offer more opportunities and a better quality of life than suburban sprawl and should be designed to grow and adapt so that more people can live in them. For many years, American planners and policymakers designed cities to be less dense and more car-oriented, with more highways, parking garages, and drive-throughs — in other words, more like the suburban sprawl that grew around them. We believe we should reverse that trend. Cities should not be centered around cars, but around people. People of all races, classes, genders, sexual preferences, religious preferences, ages, and abilities should feel like they belong in a city. Urbanism, therefore, is also the pursuit of making cities more accessible to all, especially the most disenfranchised.
Who We Are
Our paid staff includes our executive director and managing editor, and we also pay some reporters on a per-article basis, but volunteer contributors continue to be essential to what we do. Our core staff (see below) handle day-to-day operations and are supported by other teams that work on seasonal projects like endorsements, legislative advocacy, and walking tours. If you’re interested in joining our team, shoot us a message on social media or via our contact form. Please note that all views expressed by writers are their own and not that of their employers.
Check out our board of directors.
Editorial Independence, Corrections, and Transparency
The Urbanist strives to maintain its journalistic integrity and independence and to follow best practices as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. We issue corrections when we get the facts wrong and list a correction note on the article when we do. Please reach out via our contact form or social media to report an error in need of correcting in one of our stories.
We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News: Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions. We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. We will publish our major funders ($5,000 or more per year) in our annual report. We disclose conflicts of interest when they arise in our reporting, endorsements, or other activities.
Mission and Values
The Urbanist examines urban policy and advocates to improve cities and quality of life in the Puget Sound region. Urbanism is about building outstanding communities. Successful urbanism values accessibility, equity, civic engagement, health, safety, and prosperity.
Our monthly meetings are an opportunity to network and engage with people who are interested in urban issues. Each meetup features a special guest speaker. The meetup happens every second Tuesday of the month online, at least until the Covid-19 epidemic subsides. In the before times, we met at the Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee.
Write for Us
We believe in analyzing and debating policy, which is why we promote guest contributions to The Urbanist. Some of our most interesting articles come from readers like you. If you’re interested in sending us an article to publish, we encourage you to contact our editors to get their feedback before jumping in too deep.
The Urbanist strives to inform and enlighten our readers with coverage and endorsements of important local races. Beginning in 2015 with coverage of nine open seats in the Seattle City Council, we have expanded our efforts to include the Seattle Mayor, Port of Seattle Commission, and state legislative races in addition to local and state ballot measures.