‘Seattle Geographies’ aims to decode the city’s many contradictions

Professor Emeritus Richard Morrill and Professor Michael Brown

The Seattle Times has profiled the Geography Department’s new anthology, Seattle Geographies, edited by professor Michael Brown and Emeritus Professor Dick Morrill. The book, which is being unveiled this week at the AAG Conference in Seattle,  emphasizes Geography’s unique spatial perspective on the Seattle region’s many “paradoxes”, including:

• Seattle may have a reputation as liberal and tolerant, “but it can also be quite controlling,” Brown says. For example, it has adopted stringent rules about social behavior that give police the authority to exclude people from parks if they violate rules or laws.

• The area has a long-standing fear of big government, but voters seem willing to tax themselves significantly, Morrill says.

• Though Seattle has a reputation as a high-tech mecca, one-third of the local economy is still fueled by manufacturing, notes Professor Emeritus William Beyers.

The book includes article by faculty, graduate students and undergraduates, and addresses such diverse cultural, social and ecnomic isues as voting patterns in presidential elections across the region, to relatively small, such as the politics of locating and building a skateboard park, and what that issue says about social and generational tensions.

The Seattle Times article also talks about the UW Geography Department, pointing to a “renaissance” in the discipline, and emphasizing our  accountability to place, field-based research, and community engagement.

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