A Reinvention – Seattle Magazine


As the famous author Ray Bradbury once said, the future is just more the same if you just look around.

“The hell with more,” Bradbury said. “I want better.”

Don’t we all, in Seattle and, well, everywhere. As the pandemic appears to be winding down and mask requirements are easing, it’s time for bold risks and bigger thinking.

These efforts are already in full swing. This issue of Seattle magazine—the first in its entirety under new owner and publisher Jonathan Sposato—examines the forward thinking that is required collectively to create a more just and inclusive region.

As Bradbury suggested, all you have to do is look around. After a long period of self-reflection and the search for meaning, it is time for a rebuild.

Seattle has triumphed many times in this regard: The Klondike Gold Rush over 120 years ago. The birth and rise of Boeing two decades later. The explosive growth after World War II. The technology revolution led by Microsoft and then Amazon that completely transformed a dismal city into an influential global tech capital.

A theory of urban development states that cities reinvent themselves about every 25 years. Seattle’s global status and enviable pre-pandemic growth puts it in a perfect position to take a fresh look at solving the problems that have become so severe over the past two years.

The change is already happening. Take Pioneer Square, widely considered to be the oldest neighborhood in the city. The neighborhood has struggled with its challenges for years, even decades, but more than two dozen public and private infrastructure projects were launched before the pandemic. A story in this issue features Katherine Anderson, owner of the popular London Plane restaurant, as she talks about why she has remained a staunch supporter of the area in particular and the city in general.

Another proposes a set of seemingly radical ideas: An end to single-family home zoning and downtown parking. A repurposing of an overbuilt office environment as employees increasingly work from home. An acceptance that a growing homelessness problem is more about affordable housing than anything else.

Another shows the humanity of former Seattle Police Commissioner Carmen Best as she transitions from a contested symbol of discontent to a national spokesperson for police reform. Another describes the challenges facing Seattle’s new mayor, Bruce Harrell, who has perhaps the biggest job of any mayor in the city’s recent history.

The affiliated magazine Seattle Business, which will become a standalone publication again in the near future, focuses on the growing “blue economy” or the city’s considerable potential as a global maritime powerhouse. Jon Scholes, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Downtown Seattle Association, proposes a number of actions that will put the city on a fast track to recovery.

This issue also marks a departure from the magazine’s past. A new column by acclaimed University of Washington professor Pepper Schwartz, titled “Heartbeat,” answers reader questions and offers relationship advice at this very strange time. Another by The Shop owner Matt Bell, titled “Every Car Has a Story,” cleverly reveals the passion of car enthusiasts across the region. Another, “Letter From Seattle,” focuses on the little pieces of gratitude that often escape attention but come across every day in this region.

Crossword guru Jeff Chen, who has created over 100 puzzles for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, brings his considerable talent to our new game pages. Matt Berman, who was hired by John F. Kennedy Jr. to be the creative director of George magazine (remember that iconic Cindy Crawford debut cover dressed as George Washington?), is our creative advisor.

And while Lesser Seattle’s anti-growth philosophy isn’t talked about much anymore, we don’t neglect the city’s turbulent history. Amateur historian Brad Holden reminds us how we got here by highlighting the colorful characters from Seattle’s past in his new column, Vanishing Act.

There is only one way to stop, but many ways to advance. Seattle can and will lead the way.


Comments are closed.