Increasing rents have become a hot political issue in Seattle. Photo by the author.
Rent increases and housing affordability have become a hot political issue in Seattle. Photo by the author.

On Tuesday afternoon The Seattle Times‘ Danny Westneat broke the news (in an inflammatory manner) that Mayor Ed Murray’s committee on housing may recommend making changes to the city’s single-family zoning. If the idea lands on the committee’s final set of recommendations, and makes it through the political wringer of City Council politics, it has the potential to improve many of the city’s neighborhoods. And if done well, it could greatly reduce the housing equity crisis and stabilize skyrocketing rents.

The Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory (HALA) Committee first convened in November 2014. This was shortly after the U.S. Census Bureau reported that among the 50 largest U.S. cities Seattle’s rent increases were the highest (11 percent) between 2010 and 2013, and Seattle was the fastest growing U.S. city between 2012 and 2013. The 28-member HALA committee is made up of affordable housing advocates, architects, developers and builders, and many others who have an interest in Seattle’s housing market. They have been tasked with recommending a set of policies and actions to address housing displacement and increasing rents by the end of this year.

The committee’s task is daunting. Seattle is planning for some 120,000 new residents over the next 20 years and is building out a new light rail network, which is sure to increase housing prices even further. Economic cycles will certainly bring ups and downs, but in the meantime a construction boon is bringing in thousands of new office jobs and fueling increasing rents in the city’s most populous and popular neighborhoods. Debate is raging over the consequences of this rapid growth, especially with the strain on local transportation systems and the appearance of ubiquitous six-story apartment buildings in many neighborhoods.

Typical
Typical “5-over-1” apartments over retail that are appearing in Seattle’s mixed-use neighborhoods. Photo by the author.

Urban growth is good for the city and its residents. More city dwellers means (ideally) greater diversity, a more vibrant economy and social scene, and greater environmental benefits as people live in smaller homes and drive less. But the rapid surge in population that Seattle is experiencing now, and its lack of concurrent infrastructure growth, is creating many concerns. Housing prices are one of the most obvious signs of strain as renters are pushed out of their homes and forced to move farther from their jobs or out of the city entirely.

What to do about increasing rents is a matter of great debate among local politicians, urbanists, and advocates. A number of measures are already in place or are on the table:

  • Development in Seattle’s urban centers and urban villages have no parking requirements, which lowers the cost of housing construction. I’ve previously written on this topic.
  • Recently passed microhousing legislation aims to create more options for people who can’t afford market rate studio or 1-bedroom apartments and are comfortable with living small.
  • The city’s current housing levy provides public housing to low-income, senior, and formerly homeless people; there are calls to increase the levy after it expires next year.
  • Councilmember Mike O’Brien has proposed a “linkage fee” that will help fund additional affordable housing through fees on new development. Owen Pickford at The Urbanist argues that linkage fees would be passed on to landowners, not renters.
  • Councilmember Kshama Sawant is vigorously advocating for some form of rent control (which could include capping total rents or annual rent increases), though state law forbids it.
  • Local advocate Ben Schiendelman wants to remove height limits to increase housing supply to meet demand, potentially lowering prices.
  • City Council candidate Alon Bassok is calling for inclusionary zoning, which would require residential developers to include affordable housing units in new buildings.

On the other end of the spectrum, some groups are clamoring for moratoriums on new development. Outgoing Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, in particular, has voiced opposition to some growth with his proposal for neighborhood conservation districts and proposed amendments to lowrise zoning that would limit the size of new apartment buildings. He also said recent construction represents Soviet-style apartment blocs.

The draft recommendations of the HALA committee have a long list of methods to increase the diversity and affordability of Seattle’s housing stock. A few of the major ones are:

  • Increase the land area of zones that allow multifamily development
  • Increase height limits in multifamily zones
  • Expand the boundaries of urban villages (where transit service, jobs, and commercial services are concentrated)
  • Reduce or remove parking requirements outside of urban villages
  • Promote family-friendly housing (for apartments, this typically includes two or more bedrooms)
  • Enact a real estate excise tax, expand the city’s housing levy, and expand the city’s multifamily tax exemption program
  • Preserve existing affordable housing with tools like a preservation tax benefit and the public acquisition of affordable housing that is at risk for redevelopment
smallzonemap
Seattle’s single family zones are the light yellow and white, representing nearly two-thirds of the city’s land. Apartment renters are limited to the brown, red, orange, and light purple areas. (Seattle DPD)

Under the heading “Increase Flexibility and Variety in Single Family Zones” is a possible game changer. The committee notes that 65% of Seattle’s land area (excluding streets) is zoned for single-family detached structures, one of the highest rates among large U.S. cities. The document goes on to say:

The exclusivity of Single Family Zones limits the type of housing available for sale or rent, limits the presence of smaller format housing and limits access for those with less income. Seattle’s zoning has roots in racial and class exclusion and remains among the largest obstacles to realizing the city’s goals for equity and affordability. In a city experiencing rapid growth and intense pressures on access to affordable housing, the historic level of Single Family zoning is no longer either realistic or sustainable. HALA recommends allowing more flexibility and variety of housing in Single Family zones to increase the economic and demographic diversity of those who are able to live in these family oriented neighborhoods. In fact, HALA recommends we abandon the term “single family zone” and refer to such areas as low-density residential zones.

There are a number of ways these new “low-density residential zones” can be more equitable and contribute to citywide growth. One is to make the proposal less dramatic, and by doing so attracting less resistance, by first limiting the changes to the areas around urban villages and within walking distance of commercial services and transit lines. These areas tend to already have a mix of low density housing. Another step would be to allow corner stores and small businesses to locate in these areas.

Citywide, the document suggests reducing regulatory burdens for accessory dwelling units (ADUs, separate living spaces in houses like basements, attics, or new additions) and detached accessory dwelling units (DADUs, otherwise known as backyard cottages); a number of Seattle City Council candidates have voiced support for promoting these options. Specifically, the committee recommends removing parking requirements, removing ownership requirements, creating standard plans for DADUs, and allowing both an ADU and a DADU to be on a property.

Left: example of townhomes with private parking in Ballard. Right: example of cottage housing in Green Lake/Roosevelt. Photos by the author.
Left: Example of townhomes with private parking in Ballard. Right: Example of cottage housing in Green Lake/Roosevelt. Photos by the author.

The committee also recommends allowing a mixture of other housing types throughout most of the city. Cottages, courtyard housing, duplexes, and triplexes are specifically called out. Presumably townhouses and rowhouses should also be part of the mix. The advantages of mixing housing types are many. To name a few, from an urban form standpoint they can fit in with single family homes through massing, setbacks, height, and materials perhaps better than taller apartment buildings can. But this issue is not only about neighborhood character, it’s also about the characters. A variety of housing forms can provide a mixture of housing costs, allowing for mixed-income communities and a diverse population to enjoy the benefits of quiet neighborhoods. Further, increasing population densities in outlying neighborhoods can create incentives for businesses and local bus service to locate there, giving more people the option to leave the car at home.

Another significant change is suggested elsewhere in the recommendations: removing parking requirements for single family homes. The committee explains their reasoning as:

Requiring one off-street parking space for every single family home is an artifact of an earlier era and is not a necessary or effective requirement. The space occupied by an off-street garage or parking space could be used instead to accommodate space for housing, including an accessory dwelling unit. The most common parking configuration – a driveway and curb cut accessing a garage from the street – occupies curb space that could be used to provide a parking space on the street. A 1:1 parking requirement eliminates exactly as many on-street spaces as it mandates off the street, causing no increase in parking supply, bisecting sidewalks with countless driveways, and gobbling buildable housing space for redundant (and expensive) parking. Therefore, the City should consider removing the parking requirement for single family homes.

Population and employment capacity of Seattle's zone categories. (Seattle DPD)
Population and employment capacity of Seattle’s zone categories. (Seattle DPD)

There is no legislative need for Seattle’s single-family zones to absorb additional housing units. According to the city’s Development Capacity Report, updated for the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan, all of the city’s non-industrial zones have an excess of zoned capacity for housing units. Indeed, even without changing single-family zones, they have capacity for an additional 10,959 homes.

This HALA committee idea is also not reflected in any of the four alternatives for growth allocation presented by Seattle 2035. All four of the alternatives consider variations of concentrating population and employment growth in urban villages, urban centers, and around transit hubs. Allocating any substantial amount of new growth to single-family areas may require a fresh analysis of environmental impact and the need for infrastructure.

Still, the draft recommendation is a forward-looking step. Along with its many other policy proposals, the HALA committee has agreed that housing affordability is a problem and there are known solutions. If this idea makes it through the inevitable pushback of single-family homeowners and the scrutiny of the City Council, it could help ensure more of Seattle’s many neighborhoods are responsible for absorbing new growth and greeting new neighbors.

High Point in West Seattle is an example of a mixed-income neighborhood with a diversity of housing types. (SvR Design)
High Point in West Seattle is an example of a mixed-income, low density neighborhood with a diversity of housing types. (SvR Design)

This article is a cross-post from The Northwest Urbanist.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Great article. You do have a typo, though. You call it “neighborhood conversation districts” instead of “neighborhood conservation districts (you flipped the ‘s’ and ‘v’).

    I really like that second picture. That is one of the nicest examples of that style in the city (in my opinion). Both of those buildings are gems, and go well with the older brick building down the street. I’m not sure what is being built across the street (hopefully it will be just as nice).

    As far as what HALA has proposed, I like all of it. It addresses affordability the same way that Alan Durning did in his excellent set of articles: http://daily.sightline.org/blog_series/legalizing-inexpensive-housing/

    It is easy to assume that people in SFH areas will object to these changes, but if applied in enough places, it would actually be a lot less disruptive. I think this house (http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2012/10/capitol-hill-house-standing-since-1890-wont-get-landmark-protection/) is a great example of how disruptive our current policies are. We limit the density increases to only a handful of areas, which means that if we have an increase in demand (as we do now) it puts enormous development pressure on those areas. Without zoning laws, I think that house would still be standing. It might be converted to an apartment. There might be a small house behind it, but it would still stand because it is in good shape and it is very big. Meanwhile, other areas would have new apartments as well as house to apartment conversions. That is the irony of a lot of the zoning — it doesn’t preserve the character of the neighborhood, it simply preserves the low density nature of some neighborhoods, while other neighborhoods (like Capitol Hill) see tremendous destruction. This isn’t good for those who want cheap rents (throwing away a million dollar house like that before you break ground on a new apartment isn’t cheap) nor is it good for those who want to see houses preserved. As someone who would like to see preservation, increased density and lower rents, I think this committee has the right idea.

    But getting rid of the parking requirement is probably the best thing that has been proposed. We need an adult conversation about parking in this city. If a neighborhood (or the city as a whole) believe that parking is important, than everyone should pay for it. Right now, it doesn’t work that way. Only renters pay for parking (whether they use a parking spot or not). By requiring parking on new buildings, it pushes up the cost of rent in those buildings. As with any market, this pushes up the cost of all rents (and the cost of buying a house or condo). So the cost is pushed onto those who don’t own a place. Since most who rent (or are thinking of buying) are as wealthy as those who own, this is hardly fair. If we want more parking, then we should all pay for it.

    • Ross, your Capitol Hill blog link doesn’t work, so we don’t know which house you’re talking about. Second, we’re not limiting growth to “only a handful of areas”. For 21 years City has been directing growth to urban centers and urban villages of which there are dozens. And last September, the City published its Development Capacity Report — http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/cs/groups/pan/@pan/documents/web_informational/p2182731.pdf — that documents the City has, under existing zoning, capacity to absorb 3X the number of housing units needed for the next 20 years.

      I know urbanists don’t like to hear that because it runs counter to their mantra, but facts are facts (doubters please see the reports Appendix 2 for a description of their methodology).

      So no, we don’t need to abolish single-family zoning and replace it with “low density residential.”

      • I’ll try again, but the problem is this site, not my link — http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2012/10/capitol-hill-house-standing-since-1890-wont-get-landmark-protection/
        Maybe the link is too big — try this — http://tinyurl.com/kspyu6x

        As for a handful, I stick with my terminology. Urban center make up a minority of the city’s land. SFH makes up 69%. Industrial must make up something, and I know urban centers don’t take up the rest. So you are talking about far less than 31%. That is a handful, in my opinion (perhaps someone here can tell me the actual number, but far less than a third of the city is tiny in my book).

        As to capacity, sure, it could handle it. Mow down every building. Mow down every house in Fremont (even that bar you like). Mow down every little restaurant in Lake City. Destroy every house in Capitol Hill and yes, you can fit everyone in Seattle. Rents will be sky high (of course) but hey, it doesn’t matter, because — well, we are more urban now. Perhaps this fills your vision of an urban paradise (boring six story buildings forever!) but it sure as well doesn’t fit mine. I prefer a city more like the one I grew up in. With beautiful brick buildings mixed with houses and small apartments, like this one — https://goo.gl/maps/SaqlS (sorry if the link doesn’t work, but just wander around Cowen Park, you’ll find it). This is what the Central Area looks like. This is what Wallingford looks like. This is what upper Fremont looks like. It isn’t about tearing down houses and small apartments, it is about building where it makes sense to build. Often times this is the backyard, or even in those single family homes (oh, the horror — how will people ever adapt!).

        • Peter Steinbrueck’s recent study found that about 75% of our new development has occurred within urban centers and urban villages and there are damned few people saying that’s a bad thing, that that development should’ve been spread around among and into SF neighborhoods.

          The urbanists who wrote the 1994 Comp Plan said that high-density development should occur in compact and walkable districts where the density can be most easily serviced — particularly by transit. People bought into it because it made sense — Jane Jacobs and all that, and it meant that the city could continue to grow without transforming our SF neighborhoods into something most people didn’t (and don’t) want.

          Now we are to believe that was urban centers and urban villages are bad, that development should be spread out and no longer concentrated? Where did that come from? I’ve lived in Seattle for 47 years and I’ve been through land use wars before, and it ain’t pretty; it ain’t fun. And it’s so damnably unnecessary. The City’s own Development Capacity Report (yes, I’m repeating myself) says that, under existing zoning, Seattle can accommodate 3X the expected population growth over the next 20 years.

          I’m really sorry Seattle isn’t like the city you came from, full of delightful row houses and stacked flats and whatever. But Seattle is what it is, and it’s not going to be transformed into Philadelphia or Chicago; not now, not ever.

          The challenge is for Seattle to grow gracefully based on what we have and what we are. Please, it’s time to understand that. Time to stop regretting Seattle’s history and start working with it.

          • Nobody is saying we don’t want growth in our urban centers – we absolutely do. But don’t believe that capacity number – to get anything close to that you’d need to bulldoze Seattle and start over. The best indication of capacity is housing price – prices can’t go up if it’s cheaper to build new capacity (or developers would be all over that!).

            So yes, we need to upzone our urban villages. But they’re only 11% of our land area. Making even small changes to SF zoning will do quite a lot – long ago duplexes were allowed in our SF zoning and there are a few on my block. They absolutely fit in with the “character” of SF zones, and I don’t see why we shouldn’t allow them. That’s all this is about – letting a few more people in to SF zones.

          • I was born here. Sorry you assumed otherwise. So if your argument is to “go back to where you came from” I hate to disappoint you, but my father and grandfather were born here. So unless you are indigenous to the area (a member of the Duwamish tribe) I suggest another line of reasoning.

            When I said “I prefer a city more like the one I grew up in” I mean Seattle. I was born here and grew up here over fifty years ago. I don’t want to see every house (like the one I referenced) destroyed. I don’t want to see rents so high that my kids can’t afford to live here. A lot of development used to be perfectly legal and resulted in the city I grew up in. I’m talking about old houses with multiple apartments in them (in the Central Area). I’m talking about small brick apartments next to houses in Wallingford. Both were built without additional parking (of course). Both would be illegal now. The end result was a very pretty city, and a very affordable city.

            But as time went on, the rules changed, and the development changed with it. Backyard cottages and basement apartments are legal, but the laws are so onerous, that growth in that way is rare. So instead, houses in Ballard were torn down to put up ugly duplexes. The builders were limited to how many units they could add, and how much parking they could provide. So of course they went the cheap way, and put the driveway right out front. Since they couldn’t meet the demand by filling out the lot, more and more houses were torn down. The end result was lots of cement replacing nice old houses and lovely landscaping. Progress!

            Several iterations have occurred since then, each one trying to correct the mistake of the previous one. Parking has been moved to the back. Fences were required (for some crazy reason — in a city that generally has very few) and the usual limitations on the number of units. Again, this all results in more disruption, more houses being torn down and higher rents. Is this what you want?

            I really don’t care what “urbanists” thought was a great idea in 1994. At one point, urbanists thought that urban renewal was a great idea. It isn’t. Times change. People figure out what works and what doesn’t. What can work for Seattle is to allow growth more organically, the way it used to work. Are you telling me that the Central Area and Capitol Hill of forty years ago was crap? Because most of that (including the building I referenced above — in a different end of town) could not be build now. I really don’t understand why you want to see all the houses in Capitol Hill, Fremont and many other areas torn down in the name of urban renewal — oops, sorry, I mean urban villages. That is what would have to happen to meet the numbers you referenced. Rents would increase (obviously) and much of the character of Seattle would be destroyed. How is that good for anyone?

            What is so horrible about allowing a house like the one I referenced be converted to an apartment. What is so bad about houses like that throughout the city being converted. I live in a single family housing area, and I could care less if someone builds a backyard cottage or basement apartment. This is far less disruptive than tearing down a house and putting up a new one (which is perfectly legal, by the way). One last set of links (I hope this works). Here is a neighborhood used as an example from this article (http://tinyurl.com/qfc5est) that has is way more dense than a typical Seattle neighborhood —
            https://goo.gl/maps/F2XJr. Terrible huh. Absolutely dreadful. I guess you want to see all those houses torn down so that we can put up big six story apartment buildings (if they are in the urban village boundary). Unless they aren’t, in which case they wouldn’t have all that horrible density that makes living in the neighborhood horrendous.

          • Ross, thanks for the correction on your local history. I thought you were sounding like the newbie urbanists who lament that Seattle isn’t like the cities they came from; I just assumed you were one of them.

            As I understand what you’re saying, there are lots of good houses and buildings in urban villages that should be preserved and not re-developed to higher density. And the way to achieve that is to allow higher densities in SF zones. I think the net effect of that would be to shift density away from the centers that we’ve designed to accommodate it into SF neighborhoods, most with 25-foot-wide streets, where it’s less convenient to serve. And where “frequent transit” is unachievable. I understand your preservationist instincts, but I disagree with your strategy.

            Your well-selected photos are fine. Delightful neighborhoods i’m sure. I suspect the reality here in many cases would be more like the rooming houses I remember around the U District — large old homes cut up into individual apartments or rooms, with peeling paint and exterior plumbing drains, and only minimal maintenance because nobody cared. Tenants would all be moving in a year so cheap rents were all that mattered. Neighbors who did care about upkeep of the neighborhood either moved away or gave up.

            I’m ending my commenting on the HALA discussion. Their final report is due next week, and hopefully their recommendations will be more grounded in reality, especially when it comes to adding density in SF zones. I would be happy with loosening up ADU and DADU standards, such as eliminating the off-street parking requirement on blocks where parking is usually available. With so few vacant and developable lots in SF zones, encouraging more ADUs and DADUs is about all you can reasonable do to increase density, short of tearing down existing houses on a scale not seen since Urban Renewal.

          • Owen, sure I could accept new and innovative building forms in SF neighborhoods, but the problem is there are almost no vacant and developable lots available to build on. The only way to get building sites is to tear down what’s there now.

            We can write all kinds of wonderful things into the codes, but where can they actually be built? Nobody’s going to tear down $1m houses in Laurelhurst or Magnolia Bluff to build them. It’s going to be the downscale neighborhoods with cheaper houses — houses conceivably affordable to ordinary people — but who will be buying the new houses? I suspect no matter where they would be built, they would not be affordable to regular folks.

            If you know of enough vacant and developable SF property where some of these new building typologies could actually be built, please let us know. I’ve lived here a long time, and my observation has been that our SF land is effectively built out.

          • I’m a little confused by what you are saying. It’s not uncommon at all for SF homes to be torn down in order to build another SF home. This is likely what would happen if a family like the one I linked to wanted to build house that worked for their family. It seems like this debate is about allowing flexibility when that happens.

          • Owen, my wife is friends with this family, and I’m familiar with their site in Greenwood. Absolutely the City should’ve allowed their project to move forward. The site is a block off of the Greenwood commercial strip. As a matter of policy, I’d like to see modestly higher densities allowed 1-1/2 blocks deep on either side of such commercial strips. Those old streetcar lines were the original urban villages, back in the day. We should work with the urban form they have bequeathed us.

        • Here’s the number you’re looking for: multifamily is 11% of Seattle’s land area (and contains around 50% of its population). You might be able to count up another percent in the mixed-use zones. That’s a very small handful.

          • Thanks Matt. Most of that is low rise, too. Less than one percent is midrise or highrise. I agree, that is a very small handful.

      • “under existing zoning, capacity to absorb 3X the number of housing units needed for the next 20 years.”

        You keep repeating this mantra, and people point out to you how utterly meaningless that number is, and why, and you never have any response but you keep saying it. At some point it becomes difficult to avoid concluding that you’re simply a dishonest propagandist.

        Not only would anything close to maxing out current zoning produce massive displacement and disruption, it would be wildly, impossibly expensive. (Acquire perfectly functional, profitable 4 story buildings to tear them down and replace them with a six story building? Buy out profitable businesses with no interest in selling to add new housing?)

        We’ve just seen what happens when we try and cram all new development into tiny slivers of the city. The residents rebel, and the council passes a bunch of new rules that amount to an effective downzone. The strategy you prefer is not economically or politically sustainable.

        • If available development capacity is meaningless data, then criticize the City for publishing it. I got it from them; it didn’t fall from the sky. Please read Appendix 2 of the City’s report. It documents how they came up with the numbers, which are actually quite conservative. Many buildings and parcels are exempted for many different reasons.

          “…tiny slivers of the city”? Take another look at the City’s land use map. All those Urban Centers and Urban Villages are hardly “tiny slivers.” If they don’t provide enough development capacity for the next 20 years, then upzone them. If they don’t have a large enough footprint, then expand them by a block or two hear and there. The notion that Seattle is going to shift its development strategy away from urban villages into SF neighborhoods…well, it’s just not going to happen.

          • I did. I am also going to keep criticizing you for deploying this very bad, very silly argument with a junk stat you can’t even bother to try to defend, beyond an appeal to authority.

          • And I’m going to keep using the City’s data every time I hear someone say Seattle needs major upzones everywhere or the sky will fall.

            If you don’t agree with the City’s 3X figure, if that’s not enough development capacity, they what should it be? 10X? 50X? Or should we just go full Valdez and agree that any density limit anywhere is bad public policy?

          • It’s all about math and logic, RD. You keep citing that figure as if we should be impressed. It misses the point. There are a lot of tradeoffs with zoning, but consider three:

            1) Same density in SFH areas
            2) Cost of rent being low
            3) Preservation of existing structures

            I’m convinced that we can’t have all three. We only have one right now (obviously). If things continue, we will only have that one. It is because of the math I mentioned — the math that you can clearly read by looking at Matt’s link. Here are some numbers of zoning as a percentage of the cities acreage:

            Single Family — 64.8%
            Lowrise — 10.1%
            Midrise — 0.7%
            Highrise — 0.2%

            I’ll just stop right there. It should be obvious that if you focus on only the 1% (high and midrise) that you will have to have a hugely disproportionate amount of growth there. Even if you include lowrise, it the same thing.

            If you don’t have growth in the area that makes up almost two thirds of Seattle (and 60 times the amount of land given over to midrise and highrise) then it will push rents sky high, and mean that the areas that do allow growth will see major disruption. Perhaps you don’t care about the former — maybe high rents don’t bother you. Too bad, so sad. Should have have be born to a better family or picked a better career (school teacher or nurse? what a loser — move to Tukwila).

            But I’m guessing (and I know I am going way out on a limb here) that you care about the houses. Why is a house in Wallingford so precious that it can’t have a basement apartment, but a house in Fremont (lower Fremont) can be destroyed to put up a six story building? It smacks of elitism. You aren’t opposed to houses being torn down, you just don’t want more people in your neighborhood (whether the houses are preserved or not).

            It is just a ratio thing. If the land that makes up sixty times the other land grows a bit, then the other land doesn’t have to grow fast at all. Not that SFH land can’t grow more than a bit. To quote that article, there are neighborhoods that look essentially the same in Vancouver (pretty houses) but they managed to double in population. Double! If the land that is about 2/3 of the city increases a little bit, then in twenty years you will still be able to walk around Capitol Hill or Fremont or various “urban village” areas and see plenty of houses. Many will operate as restaurants (as they do now). Others will be converted to apartments. People will be able to afford those apartments, and apartments throughout the city, because the population growth will have spread throughout the city, in ways people hardly notice.

  2. By 2050 every vehicle will be electric – powered by renewable energy with zero carbon emission.
    The majority of retail jobs will be done by robots (including Burger Flipping). ( and almost all manufacturing jobs).
    Not building single-family homes will be reducing future renewable power sources:
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-suburban-sprawl-power-cities-future.html#nRlv

    So all this 6-story development will:-
    —– do nothing to reduce CO2 emission nor reduce traffic congestion (robots don’t drive to work).
    —– be housing the unemployable and need to be 100% subsidized.
    Is this to be the future inhabitants of your city?

Comments are closed.