Go to any city council meeting on density, an environmental group meet-up, or even a house party, and you're going to find them. I refer to new urbanists. These folks care very much about growth in our cities, and through their work they hope to have an impact on what this growth should look like. They advocate for density, for walkable neighborhoods, for transit, for human-scale development, and for a greener future. And according to my experience, they never do any of this outside the city of Seattle.
Take, for example, the proposed development on the current Dearborn Goodwill site south of the International District (which has since been canceled). The project had all sorts of critics, but urban design folks came down especially hard on the supposed deficiencies: too big, too much parking, box stores are bad, and so on. Friends of Seattle complained that "though the development may feature up to 200 affordable housing units ... the commercial scale of the project (two big-box retailers) and bloated parking garage could overwhelm the local neighborhoods." Whatever that means...
For any new project in Seattle, it seems there are no shortage of Seattle-based urbanists to complain. The Dearborn development would have bested just about any suburban development outside the city, but I can say with some authority that you wouldn't have seen the quality density/quality design crowd on a Tuesday evening in the city hall of Newcastle, or Redmond, or Auburn.
To my new urbanist friends, I ask: Why so much attention on Seattle projects? Instead, try concerning yourself with developing the city centers of places like Auburn, Federal Way, or Redmond, places where your cause has more room to grow. How about pushing for dense, well-designed workforce housing in Bellevue near Crossroads? Go to Kent and help them redevelop their town center around their train station. Fix your gaze (and your expensive black frame glasses) towards downtown Renton, and help them to transform their downtown from an automall to a place people actually would like to live?
Seattle is a nice place to live in no small part because folks like you have demanded the best from the new development. But its time to take the fight to places where the battle isn't already won.