22 Oct '12, 12pm

Building up, not selling out: Can denser cities save family farms?

Building up, not selling out: Can denser cities save family farms?

In 2006, the developers of Olive 8 — a swanky hotel/condo complex planned for downtown Seattle — were looking for a way to build beyond the 300-foot height limit that zoning allowed. Doing so required some compromises — but not the kind of backroom deal residents of Chicago or Baltimore might assume. Instead, Olive 8 got to build an additional 62,000 square feet of residential space and add three extra floors (making it, at 39 stories, the tallest residential building in Seattle ) through a mechanism that promotes urban density at the same time it preserves land that supplies the city’s farmers markets, drinking water, and appetite for wilderness adventure. The tool, called “transfer of development rights,” or TDR for short, sounds wonky enough to scare off even the more serious urban-planning nerds among us. But consider that, in return for letting Olive 8 stretch a littl...

Full article: http://grist.org/cities/building-up-not-selling-out-can-d...

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