Wednesday, May 6, 2009


As you may know, I've been paying quite a bit to parking lots for the last week, or at least one in particular. This newfound interest reminded of a post I've been meaning to write for some time, but first I had to get over to Interbay to take a photo.

Here I share a photo taken from the parking lot of the Interbay Urban Center, in the general direction of the new Whole Foods, toward 15th Ave W, with Queen Anne Hill in the background.

I would like to call attention to the name of the development, specifically the word "urban."

When I first saw this sign, I was immediately reminded of the graphic below, from David Sucher's website City Comforts.

While the Interbay development isn't exactly Suburban, according to this graphic, it certainly has more in common with the ugly suburban retail strips that we are all familiar with (if you're not, take a drive up Aurora Ave and you'll see what I mean), than it does with any true urban development, like Brix on Capitol Hill.

I concede that 15th Ave W and Broadway have nothing in common (namely, Broadway has foot traffic and 15th has auto traffic) and it would be ridiculous to think that sidewalk cafes would go over well on 15th, but I can't help but ask if a run of the mill suburban development (posing as "urban," at least semantically) is the right way to go? I'm really asking because I don't understand how this development does anything to promote the kind of city that I thought we were trying to build.

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