“I want readers of The Urbanist to know I’m someone who considered himself an urbanist before I decided to run for city council, and certainly before I knew what an urbanist was,” Scott said.
As a candidate, Shaun Scott is not afraid to speak his mind on difficult subjects such as the current debate on single-family zoning in Seattle.
“At this point if somebody doesn’t believe in the hard data around the negative impacts of single-family zoning, it’s tantamount to denying that racism exists and it’s tantamount to being a climate denier,” said Scott, who is running as a Democratic Socialist for the District 4 seat vacated by retiring Councilmember Rob Johnson.
For Scott, the issue of zoning sits at the heart of many pressing issues faced by Seattle. Problems such as the housing affordability crisis, homelessness, displacement of minority groups, and the City’s failure to meet its climate goals have all been worsened by the fact that over two-thirds of Seattle’s developable land is zoned for single-family homes.
To emphasize the importance of taking not just a “hard look, but also meaningful action” toward increasing housing density in Seattle, Scott’s campaign just released it’s official statement in support of the Seattle Planning Commission’s recently published report, Neighborhoods for All, which has recommended ending single-family home zoning.
Finally, we see the city’s own independently-reviewed research and data back up what urbanists and housing activists have been saying for years: namely, that until Seattle tackles the roots of racism in our restrictive land-use policies, Seattle’s pretensions towards progressivity will remain just that.Shaun Scott, Statement on the Seattle Planning Commission’s Zoning Report
Land use policy is an area to which Scott brings both a depth and breadth of perspective that is rare among Seattle City Council candidates. In his 2009 Stranger Genius award nominated documentary, Seat of Empire, Scott took a long, hard look Seattle’s history: in particular how prejudice against Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, and other minority groups shaped development through discriminatory practices such as restrictive racial covenants and redlining.
It’s clear from Scott’s work as a filmmaker, writer, community organizer, campaign staffer, and most recently, interim editor of Real Change, he is passionate about Seattle’s past, present, and future. Additionally, Scott’s work demonstrates how he has also spent a lot of time considering what qualities and attributes make a city succeed–or fail–its residents.
Although Scott has lived most of his life in the Seattle metro area, he spent his early years in New York, an experience that shaped his perspective on what cities can be.