In all my years as a Seattle native, I’m not sure I have seen as passionate a debate as the current discourse about the past and future of single-family zoning in this city. Several articles and opinion pieces, in Crosscut and other media, have attempted to dissect one issue identified in the Mayor’s Housing and Livability Agenda Report released last week that single-family zoning in Seattle may have exclusionary roots. At issue is HALA’s potential rebranding of such zoning designations to “low-density,” aimed at rectifying history and allowing for more diverse housing types.
I fear that this debate will rob Seattle of its creative potential to solve the affordable housing crisis. We cannot let that happen, and vilifying HALA’s ideas without a broader perspective risks just that.
Image composed by the author in Seattle. Click on the image for more detail. © 2009-2015 myurbanist. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy.