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I share Jon Talton’s hope that Seattle’s downtown continues to thrive. Our density allows for vibrant cultural experiences that enrich us. We pride ourselves on our smaller carbon footprint, and look with judgment toward sprawling cities. But his comparison to Phoenix shows a weakness that we urbanists need to confront.

He concedes, “To be fair, single-family detached houses are affordable in metro Phoenix. The catch: It’s a low-wage, back-office economy with few advanced industries and low levels of college-educated adults.”

Affordability is Phoenix’s greatest asset and Seattle’s greatest weakness. Their jobs may not be sexy, but homeownership is realistic.

Say the word “suburbia” in a Seattle bar and there’s no shortage of people ready to discuss our superior lifestyle. And when the night ends, we’ll all get in our Ubers and head home to our $2,000/month apartments.

Trace Farmer, Seattle