Michael Luis

Michael Luis is a public policy consultant who has been wrestling with housing, growth and economic development issues around Washington State for over 30 years. He is author of several books on local history and served as mayor of Medina.

Seattle Leads in getting Denser. Is the rest of the Country Following?

Since passage of the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1990 the state and region have been in the forefront of what came to be know as the Smart Growth movement that sought to shift growth patterns away from the dominant post-World War II model. If we have been leaders, do we have any followers?

The Job Machine Sputters

Nationally, economists have been predicting that the recovery from the pandemic recession would hit a wall, and we have hit that wall in Washington.

Our Prisons Are Full. Here’s What that Looks Like

The average number of inmates housed in Washington’s traditional state prisons in 2020 is just slightly higher than in 2009, while the state’s population grew 15 percent during that time.

Washington: Productivity Good, Employment Not So Much

Goods producing sectors–mostly construction and manufacturing–are getting closer to the old normal, while services in general lag behind. Both GDP and employment will likely see long tails of recovery as high-touch services wait for safety and customers to return.

New Data: Rents are going Down

Seattle’s drop in October is even larger than in September and is right up there with the markets feeling the most pain. As with the regional data, it is difficult to see any national pattern.

Gradually, Gradually: New Data On How We’re Growing

The share of the region’s housing stock consisting of stand-alone single family houses fell from 60 to 57 percent.

Washingtonians are Highly Educated. So Why Don’t We Have the Colleges To Match?

The last time Washington added a new university, Evergreen State College, the state’s population was less than half of what it is today.

How Green Is Our Transit?

It will be many years before all-battery buses replace the current diesel and hybrid fleet. Difficult tradeoffs lie ahead.

You’re Right – The Northwest is Loosey Goosey

A tight culture has more strongly enforced rules and less tolerance for deviance, while a loose culture has fewer strongly enforced rules and greater tolerance for deviance.

Where the Military is in Washington State

Washington State is home to a number of large military installations that employ tens of thousands of uniformed and civilian personnel, making it one of the largest concentrations of military activity in the country.