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April 6, 2009

Poem to the Editor: What makes a city livable?

Cliff Portman, principal land use planner with the Seattle Department of Planning and Development, submitted this poem in response to the DJC's ongoing discussion of Seattle livability.

Urban Optimum

For each in the city there is a hum and a beat

To which routines and transitions freely repeat.

The flow and the ebb, with less take and more give,

Is the meter of living for work and working to live.

A calm, easy cadence connects home with labors.

No sour note commute nor dead malls for neighbors.

Uses, mixed local and small, supply points of life.

To them walk, pedal or twitter ­— modal options are rife.

Among other urban livability measures

Are ample green features and amenity pleasures.

Add a multi-cultural chorus, the polyrthmic part,

With civility and inclusion to give place a heart.

Cliff Portman


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