Wildfires have caused the city’s air quality to plummet in recent years. The new shelters will give residents a break when the air is not fit to breathe.

1 minute read

July 16, 2019, 1:00 PM PDT

By Camille Fink


Wildfire Season

SounderBruce / Flickr

Seattle plans to open public clean-air shelters later this month to give residents a reprieve from the air pollution that blankets the city during wildfires in the region, writes Halley Golden:

The pilot program will outfit five public buildings with high-tech filtration systems that screen out smoke and toxins. The buildings will also be equipped with detection systems to keep tabs on how clean the indoor and outdoor air is, and air doors at entrances to push dirty air away. 

The selected sites are in areas where residents are less likely to have filtration systems in their homes. Seattle officials are anticipating more smoky days in the future, and the shelters will help protect the city’s most vulnerable residents. But as climate change threats and impacts grow, more facilities will likely be necessary.

"The majority of homes in the city—known for its mild weather—don’t have air conditioning. And lately, temperatures have been on the rise, while smoky days have become more frequent. That means the standard advice to keep windows and doors closed when there’s bad air outside is not always going to be feasible, given the heat," notes Golden.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 in CityLab

Aerial view of homes on green hillsides in Daly City, California.

Depopulation Patterns Get Weird

A recent ranking of “declining” cities heavily features some of the most expensive cities in the country — including New York City and a half-dozen in the San Francisco Bay Area.

April 10, 2024 - California Planning & Development Report

Close-up of maroon California 'Clean Air Vehicle' carpool lane access sticker on the back bumper of a silver Tesla vehicle.

California EV Owners To Lose Carpool Lane Privilege

A program that began in 1999 to encourage more electric car ownership is set to expire next year without Congressional and state action.

April 2, 2024 - San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Google street view of grassy lot next to brick church with elevated freeway on other side in Houston, Texas.

Houston Supportive Housing Development Sparks Debate

Critics say a proposed apartment building would negatively impact the neighborhood’s walkability.

April 12 - Houston Chronicle

Closed black wrought iron gate in front of gated residential community with large palm trees along sides of street.

Friday Funny: Gated Community Doubles Down

The Onion skewers suburbia.

April 12 - The Onion

Aerial view of Chicago with river in foreground.

‘Cut the Tape’ Report Takes Aim at Inefficiencies

A set of recommendations from the Chicago mayor’s office calls for streamlining city processes to stimulate more residential and commercial development.

April 12 - Block Club Chicago

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.