Tacoma Urbanist

Jan. 22, 2008 at 12:16am

New Tacoma Newspaper *Tacoma Sun* Debuts Online

(The Tacoma Sun Logo)

Feed Tacoma creator creater Kevin Freitas posted a short note on the debut of Tacoma Sun yesterday.  Thanks to tacomamamma for already rating it one of the top Tacoma blogs while we were in the midst of editing the site.

The introduction on front page pretty well explains it:

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Tacoma Sun. Tacoma is continuing to work to rebuild its physical structure, community ties and social fabric after half a century of disinvestment and enduring through number perilous periods. The purpose of the Tacoma Sun will be to attempt to explore the methods in which Tacoma can continue to rebuild the physical and social structures to place the city on a path toward reaching its potential.

Our hope for Tacoma Sun is for the newspaper to able to discuss issues in some depth such as urban design which can create an walkable, environmentally friendly and inclusive city in a pro-active manner rather just in reaction to the latest press release or building proposal.

Our built environment has the potential to create a public realm which civic life can flourish.The other half of the picture is “community” building, the social networks and fabric which have the potential to create a meaningful civic life rather than living anonymously.

No matter how well our streets, buildings and public spaces are developed, the city can never develop any further than the people in it and the strength of our community ties.Our goal is to take a longer more holistic view of these issues than has been done in the past with the assistance of community activists, architects, artists, politicians, writers, bloggers and whoever else is interested in the rebuilding of the city.

Tacoma is a grand city. It has a downtown and many residential areas built with small walkable blocks. Much of Tacoma was built out in a manner which employed the best methods of urban design. It has many walkable neighborhoods and an intact downtown.

Tacoma has a plethora of historical buildings.Yet, Tacoma has lost more of its historical buildings than most Washington cities ever had. Tacoma suffered worse than most cities when the mall was built in 1968 and has never fully recovered.

Many of the subsequent urban renewal efforts in the city ended up doing more harm than good, such as the demolition of several blocks of historical buildings to build the North and South Parking Garages. Whole sections of the streetscape in Tacoma have been eviscerated and are little more than blank walls and entrances to parking garages. Although there has been some recent interest in living downtown, the downtown remains relatively depopulated with a high number of vacant lots and parking lots as a satellite image readily shows.

Tacoma has unfortunately followed the path of many cities and during the 1950s has built little more than disconnected strip malls void of any potential for creating a community and by definition of being privately owned, incapable of being part of a meaningful public realm. Hopefully, the Tacoma Sun can play a positive role in Tacoma’s future by helping facilitate the conversation to these ends.

The Sun will not attempt to be a peer reviewed journal or an architectural magazine or anything close to it. We realize well the efforts and accomplishment that have taken place to rebuild the city and we strive to facilitate the next few steps on these efforts. We also anticipate focusing on neighborhoods which have been the backbone of Tacoma as likely the only reason the city was not abandoned wholesale in the early 1980s which has nearly occurred in some post industrial eastern cities.

This month, writers Morgan Alexander, Andrew Austin, and Erik Bjornson have submitted article on a variety of subjects. Morgan and Erik discuss various urban design issues while Andrews discusses transportation. They welcome your feedback. In the spirit of Planetizen, we may also include reader comments and feedback in future issues. The Tacoma Sun seeks article submissions from various communities in Tacoma. Feel free to contact us with your submission ideas.
About the editors:

About Us

By Tacoma Sun

~ Our Mission ~

The Tacoma Sun is monthly community newspaper published by local Tacoma volunteers to promote:

- Liveable Neighborhoods and Downtown
- Local Political Issues
- Community Building
- Tacoma’s Public Realm and Civic Life
- Enviromental Issues
- Tacoma’s Image

Our goal is to take an in depth look at these issues than is currently available and to make all articles available online for viewing and feedback.

~ Editors ~

Morgan Alexander is a commercial real estate agent, civic activist, community organizer, and co-founder of Historic Tacoma, Tacoma Streetcar, and many other projects such as murals on Hilltop.

Andrew Austin is local political activist and transit advocate. He lives downtown, works in the state legislature, and serves on the City of Tacoma Ethics Commission.

Erik Bjornson works as an attorney downtown and writes often on issues related to downtown and Tacoma’s business districts. Erik is also a member of the North End Neighborhood Council.

The Tacoma Sun also accepts articles from Tacoma community members.

comments [6]  |  posted under tacoma, washington


by NineInchNachos on 1/22/2008 @ 9:00am
I know where you folks can get a good deal on cartoons

by Erik on 1/22/2008 @ 9:05am
I know where you folks can get a good deal on cartoons


We might need one. You have developed quite a talent for drawing the urban scene in Tacoma.

by NineInchNachos on 1/22/2008 @ 10:27am
the switching light rail header pic is a nice touch

by Erik on 1/22/2008 @ 11:17am
the switching light rail header pic is a nice touch

Morgan deserves the credit for that high tech addition.

by Daniel Blue on 1/22/2008 @ 11:21am
Do you have room for a weekly poem?

by Erik on 1/22/2008 @ 8:46pm
Do you have room for a weekly poem?

It will probably be put out monthly.

Maybe we can exchange ad space for your clothing line for poet work. Hmm. The posibilities.