Industry Update: Housing in Seattle

Industry Update: Housing in Seattle

Seattle Housing, 2018

As we start 2018 DBI wants to start sharing back with the larger design community we support.  Through our relationship, interactions, training, and speaking we learn a great deal about architect and interior design.  This effort will be the action behind our pillar of being a Strategic Resource.

We hope to visit the section often and even feel compelled to join the conversation.

This is a This month, the Seattle Architecture Foundation (SAF) hosted a lecture in their series, Design In Depth.  The Topic, Hello Seattle, Housing, was timely.  Seattle is a growing city.  According to King5, the NBC affiliate:

Seattle is the fastest-growing big city in America for the second time this decade, according to a Census data analysis by The Seattle Times. Nearly 21,000 people — 57 per day — moved into the city between July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016. That marked a 3.1 percent increase to an estimated 704,352 people. (*May 25, 2017)

For those not familiar with Seattle, we are trapped.  Water to the west and mountains to the East force the urban area into a long, narrow area.  While this make for stunning views, our land is scarce.  As you can imagine, for a city who adds 57 people a day, housing becomes an issue.

SAF put together a great panel, Chavi Hohm, Realtor and Owner of Team Dive Real Estate, Ed Weinstein, Founding Principal of Weinstein A+U, Rick Mohler, Principal of Mohler + Ghillino Architects, and Rob Johnson, City Councilman for Seattle’s 4 District (a growing and diverse part of the city).

While there were many examples of good growth, strong cases made for why housing needs to be diversified from the 65% of the city’s land that is currently zoned for single family, and ideas on how to do it, my biggest take away came from Councilman Rob Johnson.

Councilman Johnson suggested that the city, or a blended public/private effort, provide access to loan, builders, etc. so that owners on a single-family lot could repurpose their land to three are four homes instead of the one.  This allows for more housing in the city AND provides income to the home owner.

I know it seems simple, but sometimes the best ideas are.

I have a keen interest in Seattle’s housing, as do many of you.  I hope to continue to provide more insight, ideas, and commentary here on the blog, so check back.  I would also enjoy hearing from you and start a dialog.

Feel free to post any thoughts and ideas below.