A reflection of my last urban safari

Its sidewalks have amassed more neglect and love and false concern than any in this city, and to gaze into its footprints is to see the family tree of the center of the middle of nowhere. Cedar begins on the cliffs overlooking river bottoms that once warmed railroaded wanderers like flotsam, and it runs straight south through this wild triangle in the riverbend where booze and hope still comingle in the gutters. From the river just east of downtown, through the West Bank circus, it's amputated by the clumsy pratfalls of the Hiawatha freeway. Here Cedar dangles over a concrete abyss choked with moving metal, reduced to an alley for motorcycles and weeds.

A reflection of my last urban safari

Seattle attorney and writer Why the 'Sit-able City' Is the Next Big Idea A greater focus on the sit-able is an invitation to rich discussion and ready illustration based on human tradition.

Mind you, I don't want to upset the gurus and nabobs of urbanism. And it's time for the next big focal point and the next big idea, The Sit-able City. Why would this shift lead to an enhanced understanding of place?

A reflection of my last urban safari

The sit-able realm is a place of human universals, broader than the walking that transports us there or passes through. And the sit-able is about far more than street furniture and sidewalk dining, pop-up urbanism and Parking Day. Frequently, the public dialogue debates who sits where, and why.

A new focus on the "sit-able" spaces in the public realm sounds more like cultivating couch potatoes than great cities. But consider the purposeful, contemporary images shown here. Sitting, in order to rest, converse, beg and sell is what people have always done, and captures a major part of urban life.

A reflection of my last urban safari

In summary, a greater focus on the sit-able is an invitation to rich discussion and ready illustration based on human tradition. The sit-able is where those walking home meet the homeless. It embraces parks and park users, places to read and those benches where we offer a place to rest to someone who has a better reason to sit down than you, or me.

A focus on "sit-abilty" could be a game-changer, and encourage a richer conversation about why, ironically, we sometimes have second thoughts about a rest stop in the reinvented, walkable cities of today. Click on the image for more detail.

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