Richard Conlin: “More opportunities for people who want to live in the city.”

There is a lot to think about and respond to in Lynn Thompson’s recent story about neighborhood density in the Seattle Times. The story seems to confound growth targets with growth in single-family neighborhoods (more on this later). Growth targets mostly apply to Urban Villages, those knots of more intense activity and use like the business districts of Wallingford or Columbia City. But growth is going to happen in our single-family neighborhoods too since may people want to live in detached homes. We’re not going to achieve our growth goals in single-family neighborhoods, but we will provide more choices for families who want to live in the city.

That’s why when we set aside all the breathlessness hyperbole about building more homes in single-family neighborhoods (It’s like a shark attack!), what we’re really talking about is increasing choices for people moving to Seattle. And the good news is that the Chair of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use and Sustainability Committee agrees:

City Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee, said infill development in single-family neighborhoods “provides more opportunities for people who want to live in the city.”

There it is in black and white in the Seattle Times. Councilmember Conlin gets the message. We are going to continue to grow in Seattle and some of that growth will be in single-family neighborhoods. The question is really about how that happens, not if it happens. It is encouraging that Conlin understands this point. People want to live in our city and they should have a wide choice of housing opportunity in all parts of our city.

Photo of Wallingford single-family by author, shark video by Steven Spielberg.


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