Well, this is good news:
Taller buildings in the hearts of more than two dozen neighborhoods, denser housing on some nearby blocks and requirements that developers help create affordable housing. That’s what Seattle is getting after the City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve some of the most sweeping zoning changes in the city’s recent history. Getting there took a number of years, as the policy was subjected to community conversations, analysis and legal wrangling. During that time, Seattle witnessed a record-breaking boom.
But as Mike Rosenberg points out...
One last point on Seattle's upzones: It includes mandates for developers to include affordable units.
But because the plan took 4 years to pass, the city missed out on thousands of affordable units during that span as developers built a record 30k+ market-rate units in that span
— Mike Rosenberg (@ByRosenberg) March 19, 2019
I think about the thousands of the other units—affordable and otherwise—that could've been built in Seattle every time I walk past this Capitol Hill apartment building...
That's an eight story tall building on if you're standing out front, nine stories if you're standing out back.
Imagine how many more housing units would've been built if there were two or three extra stories on top of every new apartment building built in Seattle over the last decade. Or four or five or six extra stories. Thousands of units, more supply to meet demand, more competition among landlords, lower prices for renters. And as Paul Krugman pointed out a couple of years back...
Why can’t we get urban policy right? It’s not hard to see what we should be doing. We should have regulation that prevents clear hazards, like exploding chemical plants in the middle of residential neighborhoods, preserves a fair amount of open land, but allows housing construction. In particular, we should encourage construction that takes advantage of the most effective mass transit technology yet devised: the elevator.