The math is simple. When people choose to live closer to each other, they voluntarily cut their energy use in half. When people are able to make that choice, it makes our planet healthier, our communities more prosperous, and our society more fair. Literally everybody wins.  

But over the years, we’ve buried deep in our laws a variety of blocks to this voluntary sustainable decision: the innately human choice to be closer to one other. Sometimes this has happened with the best intentions, and other times our human tendencies have driven us to hoard and to exclude. Sightline’s Housing and Cities team identifies agreements across ideological lines that give Cascadians the freedom to make the sustainable choices so many of us want. 

Meet the team

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Dan Bertolet, Senior Director of Housing and Cities. Follow him on Twitter at @danbertolet.
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Michael Andersen, Senior Housing Researcher and Transportation Lead. Follow him on Twitter at @andersem.
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Alice Buckley, Senior Researcher and Montana Lead.
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Catie Gould, Senior Researcher. Follow her at @Citizen_Cate.
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Jeannette Lee, Alaska Research Director. Follow her on Twitter, @JLee907.

Select projects and resources 

Beyond parking mandates 

For decades, little-known rules in local zoning codes have been reshaping cities around cars. But policymakers across Cascadia are leading the way to erase these outdated rules, restoring the rights of property owners to determine what’s right for them and their customers while allowing towns to gradually become more walkable for all. Sightline offers data and insights on the growing movement to free our communities of parking mandates. 

Homes4WA: A coalition for abundant, affordable housing choices in Washington state 

Sightline has banded together with a network of advocates, policymakers, and neighbors across Washington state to support solutions for housing stability and abundant home choices in all our communities.  Together we can rein in rents and home prices, reverse decades of residential segregation and exclusionary downzoning, and curb sprawl and climate pollution. Learn more, and join us. 

Videos: 90-Second explainers for housing solutions 

Rules that restrict the kinds of homes we can build in our communities are invisible walls shutting out neighbors. They force us into price wars for the too few, too expensive homes that are available—a sort of “musical chairs” game that leaves many without good housing options… or even without a home at all. They also prevent us from building the climate-resilient communities we want and need. View and share the videos. 

Photo library: Free-to-use images of middle housing types 

Opposition to middle housing types—like ADUs, backyard cottages, mother-in-law suites, duplexes, triplexes, and low-rise apartments—is often because people can’t picture them or because they forget that they’ve long been a part of our urban neighborhoods, providing more affordable rental and purchase options than single-detached houses. To help abundant housing advocates, urbanists, planners, and journalists, Sightline has compiled a growing library of hundreds of free, creative commons license photos to showcase how homes of all shapes and sizes fit into communities across Cascadia and North America. View the library. 

Sightline housing research in the news