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growth

Amazon Spheres, downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

If you've driven through South Lake Union in the last seven years, you have probably seen the structures emerge. Three round orbs made of steel and glass were filled with 40,000 plants from nearly 30 different countries to create an urban rainforest. 

Photo courtesy of Mitchell Frimodt

Bill Radke talks to Mitchell Frimodt, University of Washington junior and director of the UWashington Hyperloop team about the Hyperloop pod the team has built to compete in SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in California. Since 2015 SpaceX has held a global competition with the hopes of speeding up the development of the hyperspeed train-like transportation system. 

But before you get excited at the idea of traveling at hyperspeed, Mark Hallenbeck, the director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington explains why Hyperloop probably isn't coming to the Northwest anytime soon. 

From left, Amazon software development interns Min Vu, Cindy Wang, Jason Mar, Katie Shin and Louis Yang, walk after getting bananas from the Amazon Community Banana Stand outside of the Amazon Meeting Center on Thursday, October 5, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

We’ve all noticed that Seattle feels like a younger city these days. Census data indicates that change is happening fast.

The number of adults under age 35 has been growing and much faster than in other tech capitals.

Seattle skyline
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Ross Reynolds talks to Zaki Hamid, a program director for Humanities Washington, about why he calls Seattle home and what has kept him here. And we  take calls from listeners who share their stories of how they make it work in the changing region. 

A toll area on Interstate 405.
Flickr Photo/SounderBruce (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ruiWYC

Bill Radke talks to Ed Barry, the Toll Division Director with the Washington State Department of Transportation, about a new report (PDF) that recommends raising the price of the top toll on Interstate 405 past $10.

It was one of a series of recommendations to keep traffic flowing on the busy corridor.  WSDOT has also conducted a study analyzing the effectiveness of I-405 tolling as the population in the region continues to grow. 

 Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan gives a rose to 4-year-old Araceli Cotto, after taking the oath of office on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at the Ethiopian Community Center in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It’s the first day of her new job. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan reads her name on the door of her office at City Hall. What’s going through her head?

“It’s real. And the responsibility is enormous,” she told KUOW’s The Record.

Micrsoft technology
Flickr Photo/Fabien Lavocat (CC BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/6FfQtk

Bill Radke talks to Geekwire's Todd Bishop about Microsoft's planned remodel of their building and what it says about the company's future in the region. 

Jim Loter documented building a backyard cottage in Seattle. Here's a picture from day 25: erecting the walls.
Flickr Photo/Jim L (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/s/aHsju5PWuH

Seattle officials are conducting an environmental review of the entire city to look at the possible impacts of building more backyard cottages. Some lawmakers want to make it easier for homeowners to build them.

Residents can weigh in now on the scope of that environmental review.

The current Convention Place bus station is being considered as an expansion site for the Washington State Convention Center.
KUOW Photo/David Hyde

Seattle will get an additional $60 million in public benefits, including affordable housing and bike lanes, as part of the proposed expansion of the Washington State Convention Center.

That’s more than the project’s developers had originally offered. The new money is the result of long negotiations.

Growth makes driving Seattle streets crazy - in front of schools, on narrow streets in old neighborhoods, and 59th St. and 22nd Ave NW  where this crazy thing went down. Our audience's question, by a landslide: where are the stop signs to restore order?
KUOW/Megan Farmer

As traffic has worsened in the Seattle area, drivers have taken to side streets to beat the brake lights.

This prompted one of our most popular Local Wonder questions: Why doesn’t Seattle have more stop signs?


KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The rising cost of housing in America's most desirable "creative" cities troubles Richard Florida, urbanist thinker and author. In those cities, the cost of housing is affordable only to the creative class themselves. The rest of the working population — those in service industry or manufacturing — struggle to keep up with rising housing prices.

Florida says what's happening in Seattle, specifically, is surprising even to someone like him, "supposedly in the know."

KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Bill Radke and Monica Guzman talk to newcomers about the things that surprised them when they moved to the Seattle area. Guzman is the co-founder of The Evergrey.

Demand is soaring for Seattle-area homes. Buyers who want to succeed are bidding up prices. This Seattle house recently sold for $100,000 over the asking price.
Courtesy of Seattle MLS

Bill Radke speaks with Geekwire writer Monica Nickelsburg about a new Seattle based startup called Loftium which will help you buy a house — if you agree to rent out a spare bedroom on Airbnb and split the profits with them.

A toddler watches the garbage trucks at Wallingford's rebuilt transfer station
KUOW Photo / Joshua McNichols

The south end of Wallingford used to stink because of a smelly old transfer station. 

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Emily Fox speaks with KUOW's Region of Boom reporter Joshua McNichols about the team's upcoming coverage of Seattle's housing crisis.


Carl Slater at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood is known for its restored bungalows and for Gasworks Park. But some people worry it could lose its soul if the city’s affordable housing plan goes through. 


An Amazon Prime truck delivers an Australian fern to Amazon’s campus for the ceremonial first planting at The Spheres on Thursday,  May 4, 2017, in Seattle.
Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Amazon

Bill Radke speaks with Geekwire editor Todd Bishop and Slate Magazine tech writer April Glaser about what it could mean for Seattle that Amazon will set up a second headquarters in a different North American city. 

The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle.
Flickr File Photo/cheukiecfu CC BY-NC-ND: http://bit.ly/1MUXs0y

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times report Mike Rosenberg about his article that shows how Seattle has become a company town for Amazon.

Crosscut Columnist Knute Berger also joins the conversation to talk about how he has seen this same pattern with Boeing and Microsoft before.

We also hear from listener on how this change has impacted them.

A sketch of The Emerald, a 40-foot condominium tower planned at 2nd and Stewart near Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. Chinese investors helped make the project possible.
Hewitt Seattle

Seattleites love to blame outsiders for skyrocketing housing prices.

Courtesy of Shannon Hargis

Picture a Metro bus of new people entering Seattle every day. That’s roughly how much the city is growing.*

One of those newbies is Shannon Hargis.

Hiking a trail off Snoqualmie Pass. But we're not telling you where, because the photographer wants to keep it to herself.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with Fitz Cahall, host of the podcast The Dirtbag Dairies, and  Jill Simmons, executive director of the Washington Trails Association, about the impact that our region's growing population is having on hiking trails around Washington. 

$360,000 is the asking price for this 740 square foot house in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle
KUOW Photos / Megan Farmer

Sonny Kwan, a real estate agent in Seattle, was shocked recently by a listing he saw just off Rainier Avenue South.

Earl Lancaster of Earl’s Cuts & Styles, used to be surrounded by other black-owned businesses, and a working-class community. Today, most of those businesses are gone.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Earl Lancaster has been cutting hair at the corner of 23rd and Union for a quarter of a century.

"Some of the highlights have been cutting some of the Sonics, Mariners. Cutting young kids and turn into fathers and cutting their kids’ hair. It’s been amazing," Lancaster said as he glided his clippers along a man's scalp.


Wallingford is one of several Seattle neighborhoods that will see an increase in affordable housing under the citywide rezone
Flickr Photo/Wonderlane (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9jiSQm

The City of Seattle is planning a sweeping rezone of urban villages across the city to create more affordable housing. The public can weigh in now on a draft environmental study of the zoning changes.

Some people gathered outside of the UW Medical Center Wednesday to voice their concerns about the Campus Master Plan.
KUOW Photo/Angela Nhi Nguyen

The University of Washington has revealed a 10-year plan to expand its Seattle campus and some people are voicing their concerns about the effects it could have.

Dan Schiaffo's business card reads 'Laser Craftsman.' Tap/click on the image for more photos.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

It's a lot less expensive to live in Bremerton than on the Seattle side of Puget Sound. That's allowed many people to pursue their way of life. But housing costs have started to tick upward, and builders are redeveloping land where cheap rental housing used to be. The result: fewer cheap places around.

Betty Walker waits for shipyard workers to speed walk past her restaurant, the Sweet and Smokey Diner. The shift ends a few minutes from now at 4:02
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bremerton grew up next to a Navy base.

The town used to be the economic center of the Kitsap Peninsula. But then, in the 1970s and 80s, development shifted to the suburbs around Bremerton. Now the city wants to get some of that mojo back.


El Balcon, Bremerton. The city ousted the tiny restaurant during the recession but invited it back after its owners and their five children became homeless.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When Mario Amaya first set foot in Bremerton in 2009, he fell in love.


Maggie Conyer of Strategy Real Estate shows what's for sale now. They're pretty good if you're from the Seattle side but getting up there if you're from Bremerton.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Bremerton is a place where people of many income levels live beside one another. It’s been that way for decades. People here were brought together by the military, and they could stay together because of low housing prices.

Passengers on Kitsap Transit's Port Orchard -Bremerton ferry. Soon a modern vessel will take on a new route - Bremerton to Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Bremerton hopes to be the next bedroom community for Seattle. The mayor is promoting the city, and developers are building places for people to live.

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