Seattle and the Roots of Urban Sustainability
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
Series: History of the Urban Environment
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Prologue: “The Battle in Seattle”
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On November 30, 1999, Seattle’s wet downtown streets echoed with chanting voices and festive horns. That fall, Seattleites looked up from their lattes to witness a carnival of protesters and impassioned street theater descending on their city. As Christmas drew near and shoppers filled the streets, dignitaries of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ministerial conference converged on Seattle. The WTO conference...
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In the summer of 1963 the Seattle Art Museum hung a show by the painter Mark Tobey. A local art world hero, Tobey spent his formative years, during the 1940s and 1950s, as part of the “Northwest Mystic” school, a regional group of painters that included Kenneth Callahan and Morris Graves. By the 1960s his work had garnered national attention, and he had immense cultural cachet in the provincial upstart city. The museum show in 1963—entitled “Mark Tobey and the...
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While developers and their critics battled over the future of the Pike Place Market in 1969, less than three miles away, in Seattle’s Central District, an integrated team of neighborhood organizers set out on their first annual “Fall Drive on Rats.” The group, including white college students, African American residents, and Asian American activists from the city’s International District, reportedly inspected 10,090 manholes and used over 500 pounds of poison bait in their effort to rid the area of rodents. The city government had neglected the problem for years...
3. Open Space
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Before daybreak on a March morning in 1970, a large group of men, women, and children made their way along a Puget Sound beach, just north of downtown Seattle. Braced against the chilly salt air, the figures moved past darkened windows of beach houses in the ritzy Magnolia neighborhood. Their destination was a U.S. Army base, Fort Lawton. A 1,100-acre military outpost established in the late nineteenth century, the compound sat atop a promontory with a view of the Olympic Mountains to the west, only eight miles from...
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In the spring of 1974 Richard M. Nixon stood on a platform on the glimmering Spokane River where he addressed a crowd of over 50,000 people at the opening ceremonies of Expo ’74. Thousands of miles from the scandal that dogged him in the other Washington, Nixon took refuge at this mini–world’s fair deep in the Republican territory, Washington’s vast agricultural hinterland once proudly dubbed the “Inland Empire.” In his speech Nixon told fairgoers, “The time has come to get Watergate behind us and get on with the business of America.” Spokane’s...
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Jody Aliesan estimated that between the winter of 1979 and the following spring, over 4,500 strangers milled around her kitchen, examined her living room, and peered at her raised-bed gardens. At a time when the energy crisis of the 1970s was at its most severe, Aliesan made the private realm of her North Seattle home a public display as part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Appropriate Technology Small Grants Program. She offered the throng that filed through her home in the series of open houses the chance to see how someone...
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“Park Here—Whispering Firs and Salmon Runs: A Different Sort of Downtown Space.” With this tantalizing headline, John Hinterberger, a popular food columnist for the Seattle Times, departed from his normal discussion of Seattle’s flourishing food scene in April 1991. For two years, Hinterberger told his readers, he and “a small group of people sitting in a room at City Hall” had been quietly eyeing the Cascade and south Lake Union neighborhoods just north...
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Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 40 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: History of the Urban Environment