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About Us

Founded in 2014, The Urbanist’s mission is to tell stories that inform and influence the public and their leaders — and win them to our vision: that the Puget Sound region’s built environment and social systems support thriving, healthy, sustainable, and just communities.

We are advocacy journalists, which means that we reject the falsehood that journalists are neutral observers, and instead openly state our preference for the policies that we believe will bring about the vision we seek for our region: abundant housing affordable to all; safe, sustainable, and reliable transportation; and a strong, just, and decarbonized economy.

We aren’t afraid to take a stance — and we always connect the stances we take to real issues in real people’s lives. Our stories are accurate, thoughtful, solutions-oriented, earnest, and responsible.

We aren’t afraid to go deep on an issue when it matters, but we never forget that we’re writing for a general audience that may not have gone to planning school, but want the basic things we all do: to get around their community safely and reliably; to afford a place to live without breaking the bank; and to pass on a livable planet to their children and future generations.

We cover issues no one else does — clearly, comprehensively, and accessibly — in order to help our readers understand the connections between the challenges they face in their day to day lives and the policy solutions that can improve their lives and the lives of others. And once they share our vision, we direct their attention to the ways in which their voice and their actions can help make that vision a reality in our region. Our writing is, therefore, fundamentally about the future — one we plan for and build together.

Who We Are

Our paid staff includes our publisher, contributing editor, and senior advisor. 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 events.

Rian Watt

Senior Advisor

Charles Cooper

Web Developer

Andres Salomon

Web Developer

If you’re interested in joining our team, shoot us a message on social media or us via email. Please note that all views expressed by writers are their own and not that of their employers. Check out our board of directors. In addition to our board and staff, learn more about former staff and contributors.

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 orientations, 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.

For more on what we believe, see our policy principles and our 2024 advocacy agenda.

Advertising and Data Privacy Policy

We partner with Mediavine to book programmatic advertising on our site, which utilizes cookies to target ads. We also make direct ad deals for static banner, sidebar, and newsletter advertising. Learn more about our data privacy policy and data collection by our Mediavine ad partners including how to opt out of data collection. For direct advertising opportunities, reach out via our Advertise With Us page.

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. 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 disclose conflicts of interest when they arise in our reporting, endorsements, or other activities. In 2023, our revenue came from three roughly equal sources: recurring donors to the site (become one!), one-time donors at events or through fundraising drives, and brokered ad revenue through Mediavine (see our privacy policy). Our expenses were overwhelmingly staff and freelance writers, with the remainder going to tax and business expenses. We had no major corporate donors, and prior-year tax filings with the IRS can be found online.

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.

Monthly Meetups

Our monthly meetings are an opportunity to network and engage with people who are interested in urban issues. The meetup happens every third Thursday of the month at Stoup Capitol Hill and is open to all ages. On occasion, we host special guest speakers.

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.

Election Committee

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.

Seattle City Hall sign and steps.