Upisode 35: The Urbanist Executive Director Owen Pickford stops by and chats with Ian about his urban evolution from smalltown Ohio, through Madison, Wisconsin to London, Mumbai, Austin and finally Seattle. They discuss what makes a policy or a change “good” based on whom it’s impacting — can broad, region-wide initiatives be tailored so they also serve the local communities they most put at risk? Owen describes the MASS campaign and urges listeners to get involved.
About Owen Pickford
Like so many others in the advocacy space, Owen balances his vocations between his highly technical “day job” with a customer insights company and serving as the Executive Director of the Urbanist, which was founded in early 2014 to examine and influence urban policies. The blog focuses on writing and research on a wide spectrum of issues like architecture, land use and zoning, economics, social welfare, environmental sustainability, transportation, and more.
Owen, an Ohio native and graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, has made experiencing many different urban environments a major part of his life story — having lived in London, Mumbi, Austin, and Seattle before co-founding the Urbanist. In his travels he has recognized the importance of infrastructure that allows residents to move freely, easily, and inexpensively across a region. That’s why he has been actively promoting the Move All Seattle Sustainably campaign, a broad coalition of pro-urban advocacy groups across King County, including 350 Seattle, 500 Women Scientists Seattle, Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Seattle Subway, Seattle Transit Blog, Sierra Club Seattle Group, and Seattle Transit Riders Union.
“Seattle is facing a climate crisis, a housing crisis and the Period of Maximum Constraint, and we developed transportation plans that address all these problems. We need leadership from the city to implement and fund these plans,” Pickford said. “Leadership would double our dedicated bus lane mileage, connect our disconnected network of protected bike lanes, and prioritize people walking by removing expensive adaptive signals. It’s too late for inaction, second-guessing, or slow-rolling solutions. Climate, housing, and transportation leadership means putting people walking, biking, and riding transit first.”