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Looking at the Bellevue skyline from Seattle across the waters of Lake Washington, filled with 50-story towers, it is difficult to imagine that not too many decades ago it was a tiny hamlet. A sort of American Dubai, the urban center of Bellevue virtually came from whole cloth over a span of 30 years. But not unlike similar communities—such as Tysons Corner, Virginia; Bethesda, Maryland; Stamford, Connecticut; and Glendale, California—its transformation was both accidental and intentional, a convergence of geography, demographic change, and measured public policy. What took most suburbs well over a hundred years to achieve—the classic urban attributes of size, density, and diversity—these cities acquired in less than 50 years. Each one has its own unique story; this is Bellevue’s.
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In describing Bellevue’s transformation, the author drew from the following two publications, in addition to his own early participation and subsequent observations:
Cervero, Robert, America’s Suburban Centers: The Land Use–Transportation Link (Boston: Unwin Hyman Press, 1989); Shoup, Donald, The High Cost of Free Parking (Chicago: APA Planners Press, 2005, revised 2011).
- From Village to City
- Island Press/Center for Resource Economics