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


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.