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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Oct 29, 2018

Who really benefits from urban revival? From trendy coastal areas to the nation’s heartland, cities are seeing levels of growth beyond the wildest visions of only a few decades ago. For a look at the ramifications of this explosive growth for our own region, we convened a panel of city planning experts and representatives for our local government.

First, urban practitioner Alan Mallach shared insight from his book The Divided City, spotlighting the effects of revival on major metropolitan cities over the past 20 years. He contended that, in order to foster greater equality and opportunity in increasingly crowded cities, regions must develop local strategies that focus on the needs of the people—education, jobs, housing, and quality of life.

With these needs in mind, we turned to a panel of local policy-makers to discuss, compare, and contrast the challenges King County and the Puget Sound Region are facing in the wake of exponential growth. Sit in for a critical discussion with key figures in our local government who shared strategies for how Seattle and the region at large can overcome inequities resulting from the transformation of our urban area.

Alan Mallach is a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress in Washington DC. A city planner, advocate and writer, he is nationally known for his work on housing, economic development, and urban revitalization. He is the author of A Decent Home: Planning, Building and Preserving Affordable Housing and Bringing Buildings Back: From Vacant Properties to Community Assets.


Jenny Durkan is the 56th Mayor of Seattle and the first woman to lead the city in nearly a century. Prior to becoming Mayor, Durkan was a civic leader and nationally-recognized attorney. From 2009 to 2014, she served as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, becoming the first openly gay U.S. Attorney in our country’s history.

Nancy Backus was elected to her first term as mayor in 2014 and is the first female to hold the office in Auburn’s 125 year history. Prior to taking office, she served 10 years as an Auburn city councilmember and spent 25 years as a financial manager for the Boeing Company.

Claudia Balducci is a Councilmember for King County, representing district 6. She has acted as a member of the Bellevue city charter commission and then to the City Council where she served for 12 years, including two years as Deputy Mayor and two years as Mayor.


Marty Kooistra is the Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium. His work has focused on community revitalization in the U.S. and abroad for 27 years, emphasizing sustainable building practices, community development, the rehabilitation and preservation of foreclosed and distressed properties, as well as board development and strategic alliances.

Patience Malaba is Advocacy Mobilization Manager of the Housing Development Consortium. She manages HDC’s policy advocacy engagement and mobilization efforts that advance HDC’s annual policy priorities. Prior to joining HDC, Patience led the outreach work of Seattle for Everyone, a broad coalition of organizations united on a foundation of support for Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA).

Recorded live at Seattle University by Town Hall Seattle on Thursday, October 18, 2018.