Look at the Amount of Space in Seattle Dedicated to Single-Family Housing

The Urbanist wrote yesterday about the insanely prescriptive kitchen-size standards Seattle's Department of Planning is proposing, and I intend to write something about that tomorrow. But while I was looking through the report I saw this map highlighting the locations of all 58 micro-housing projects in the city, overlayed onto a zoning map that shows all the land in the city that's designated for housing denser than single-family:

As the legend shows, if it's colored in or shaded, you can build at greater than single-family home densities (though LR1 and LR2 are pretty low-density, too). Putting aside the issue of micro-housing and apodments, what I'd actually like you to draw your attention to is everything that's not colored or shaded—all the grey on that map. That's Single-Family Seattle*. That's the part of the city where most people own their homes, and where residents could actually financially benefit from the property value-increasing development necessary to keep Seattle affordable. It's also the part of the city that's off-limits to essentially any new residential construction because preserving single-family "character" is so important. And it's why residents in the remaining 20% of the city can barely afford their rents.

*with the exception of a relatively small amount of land dedicated to industrial, commercial corridors, park space, etc., of course.


Thanks to Deb Eddy for sharing this map she found from the city's Planning dept web site, which shows the zoning for all parts of Seattle, not just those with L1-3 and MR zoning. All that light yellow and white is single-family: