Week 6 of Edmonds’ Comprehensive Plan Visioning Process: Livability and Land Use

Susan McLaughlin

Activities: Sept 12-18

Next week is the last week of the Comprehensive Plan visioning process. Thanks to all of you who shared your thoughts with us so far. If you haven’t yet, there is still time!

What are your thoughts about livability and land use over the next twenty years?  Here is the line-up for our last week where we can hear your thoughts, ideas and perspectives:

Please take our mini survey on Edmonds’ Livability and Land Use (available at https://bit.ly/livability2024, or by scanning the QR code below) and visit us over the next week at the following events to share your perspective:

Coffee with Susan, Development Services Director | 9-10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14 | Firdale Village parking lot | 9600 Firdale Ave. | Join us for a coffee and casual chat about what makes Edmonds livable. Seating may be limited. Please bring a lawn chair if possible.

Walk and Talk: Housing Options | Thursday, Sept. 15 | 3-5 p.m. | Sidewalk near 8401 Main St. (Barc Animal Hospital) | Meet us at the roundabout for a moderate (but flat) walk or roll as we discuss various housing options found in the Five Corners neighborhood.

Table Event: Edmonds Summer Market | Saturday, Sept. 17 | 5th Avenue North and Main Street | Stop by to discuss your thoughts on the future of Edmonds.

Table Event: Youth Sports Field | Saturday, Sept. 17 | Frances Anderson Playfield | 700 Main St. | 9 a.m. – noon | Come kick it with us and the littles. It’ll be a ball!

Livability & Land Use

Are environmentalism and urbanism at odds with one another? Can they work together to conserve natural resources, maintain farmland, and build livable communities? The determinates of land use could be the single most influential factors in designing livable cities. How a city chooses to allocate land should reflect its core values and meet the basic needs of infrastructure, public health, housing, transportation, economic development, and industry. The Rubik’s cube of land use options is influenced by numerous factors such as geography, topography, environmental assets, human needs, market forces, and politics. A traditional planning tool, called the “Rural to Urban Transect,” was originally developed by Ian McHarg in 1969 to reconcile urbanism and environmentalism. A post-2008 version of the original Transect diagram, with six successional zones from nature to urban core, with special district. Illustration Credit: Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company

A post-2008 version of the original Transect diagram, with six successional zones from nature to urban core, with special district. Illustration credit: Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company.

However, “the original rigid boundaries led to a dualism between humans and nature (which) has created a chasm between environmentalism and urbanism” as described by architect Andrés Duany in Transect Urbanism: Readings in Human Ecology. While Duany recognizes the value of the transect, he also recognizes the critical nature of transitional zones that occur along the transect.

Duany uses the ecological metaphor of ecotones — transitional areas between two biological communities, where two communities meet and integrate. These areas provide great ecological richness, where different species blend together for mutual benefit. This ecological term could be applied to neighborhoods as it emphasizes that integration of land uses in transitional zones strengthens neighborhood character and resilience.

Edmonds has the benefit of six distinct neighborhood districts of various sizes. One of Edmonds’ neighborhoods that I find interesting is the Highway 99 corridor, informally known as Uptown, which has stark edges between very divergent zones — general commercial zoning along the Highway 99 corridor directly adjacent to single family zoning. How can we improve livability along these edges? What areas of the city do you think could benefit from greater diversity of land use, especially in transitional zones?

What are your thoughts about livability and land use over the next 20 years?

Please offer your perspectives via our survey and/or at one of our activities next week (listed above).

As a reminder, the survey on this week’s theme, Cultural Arts, is still open and available through this Saturday, September 10th, at https://bit.ly/culture2024 or by scanning this QR code:

— By Susan McLaughlin, Edmonds Development Services Director


  1. Again I will say this. Where are the translations for our many different citizens who do not speak English. What are these zones on this diagram where and what are they? I encourage Edmonds to take a deep breath and wait until other problems are hopefully solved. Have you all watched ‘ Dopesick” Watch it. Meth does make “Zombies” I believe enabling and not helping is harmful to these users. I want to help not hurt. I want a government that realizes that we need to demand new facilities and a Mental Hospital for some of our most vulnerable on our streets. These drugs many are addictive mentally and physically sometimes from first use. So before we start planning or dreaming again about what might be our needs lets concentrate on what our needs are right now and spend our money on that. Think. Unity. Its ok to admit an idea wasn’t such a good one after all. No shame in trying but their is shame in not correcting an error.

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