HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForumSkyscraper Posters
     

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions

Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2017, 10:10 PM
M II A II R II K's Avatar
M II A II R II K M II A II R II K is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto
Posts: 42,457
Dense city? These maps show just how spread out Seattle actually is

Dense city? These maps show just how spread out Seattle actually is


January 27, 2017

Read More: http://www.seattletimes.com/business...e-actually-is/

Quote:
.....

Seattle — one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities — has climbed up to 10th in the rankings of major U.S. cities with the highest population density. And yet, for all the consternation about Seattleites living on top of each other, we’re practically a sprawled-out suburb compared with other top-tier cities across the country and the world.

- Depending on whom you ask, locals will react to the so-called Manhattanization of Seattle with glee or dread. But we’re nowhere near that. If Seattle were as dense as the Big Apple, the city’s 685,000 residents would all fit into just the region from the Ship Canal to the southern edge of downtown — less than 30 percent of Seattle’s land area. --- Seattle is regularly called the “next San Francisco” by the national media and some people in the local real-estate community. But San Francisco crowds its denizens in a lot tighter than Seattle. If we were living as densely together as in the City by the Bay, Seattle’s population would fit into an area less than half the city’s actual size.

- Of course, Seattle isn’t going to shrink its borders. So here’s another way to look at it: If we had New York’s population density, the existing footprint of Seattle would hold 2.37 million residents. With San Francisco’s density, Seattle’s population would be 1.55 million. With Paris’ density, we’d have 4.62 million people living here. --- Still, that’s comparing Seattle to the meccas of urban living. Looking more broadly, Seattle is nearly as dense as Los Angeles and similar to Baltimore and Oakland. And we’re considerably more condensed than Portland, which has a similar population to Seattle but is much more spread out.

- Seattle, unlike lots of big cities, is selectively dense. Almost two-thirds of the developed area in Seattle is reserved for detached single-family homes, according to the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability report, with each plot of land typically being used by one household, and that hasn’t changed much during the city’s recent growth spurt. Instead, apartment buildings and towers have crowded into select areas in and around downtown and near transit lines where building taller is allowed by the city.

- Mayor Ed Murray and his allies are trying to change laws to allow for more density in other neighborhoods that have traditionally been reserved largely for single-family homes. How those contentious efforts go — starting with the current fight over density in the U District — should determine whether Seattle grows up, or outward toward the suburbs. The public reaction to the zoning-change ideas should also give a decent gauge of whether people in Seattle actually want to become denser, a scorching-hot-button issue across town.

- Why do people care so much? On one hand, the extra construction has the potential to slow down skyrocketing rents, allow for more jobs and entice millennials and others lured by the big-city experience. But on the other hand, it could reduce the supply of already-expensive single-family houses, add to traffic even more and upset those who moved to quieter residential streets. One thing the facts clearly show: Seattle is getting more crowded. In 2010, the city had 7,251 residents per square mile. In 2015, according to the most recent census data available, that figure jumped to 8,154 people per square mile, making it one of the fastest-densifying cities in the country.

.....


















__________________
ASDFGHJK
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2017, 10:25 PM
ChargerCarl's Avatar
ChargerCarl ChargerCarl is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Los Angeles/San Francisco
Posts: 2,387
Off topic, but I've always been blown away by how large that bay is.
__________________
This Machine Kills NIMBYs
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2017, 10:46 PM
Docere Docere is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,450
Never thought of Seattle as particularly dense.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2017, 10:57 PM
dktshb's Avatar
dktshb dktshb is offline
Environmental Sabotage
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 4,518
City limits are such a bad way to compare densities unless each city was the same square miles and had identical topography equal park space and equal amounts of land within their city boundaries that would naturally be less dense or impossible to develop such as mountain ranges, wet lands, etc.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2017, 12:14 AM
Ant131531 Ant131531 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 1,173
I thought among most urbanists, Seattle is generally known to have a dense urban core, than outside of it, it's sprawly like any other place. I guess a decent balance between urban and suburban.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2017, 2:13 AM
mhays mhays is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,715
Seattle is about 2/3 single family houses, which are protected because the nimbys therein comprise a ton of voters. Also we recently switched to a council district system which the advocates were clear about being related to keeping some SFR-majority areas with some self-determination.

Then subtract the industrial areas, parks, etc. What's left is 15% where the density goes.

The 15% is growing like crazy on average, with a lot of variation of course. Some of it's getting truly urban. That's where Seattle's "urban" reputation comes from.

One reason we're getting expensive is that land in the 15% has been skyrocketing in price, which is due to scarcity. Just freeing up another 5% of the city would do wonders, or relaxing things even a little in the 2/3, like allowing accessory units and townhouses.

Outside the city limits, we have growth management that helps curtail outward sprawl. It's helpful but the lines aren't drawn very tightly, particularly outside King County.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2017, 2:24 AM
tablemtn tablemtn is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 711
Seattle as a region sprawls massively, and has for many years. Everything from Olympia to Marysville is basically the "greater Seattle blob," and most of that will not densify any time soon.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2017, 7:32 PM
mhays mhays is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,715
The sprawl slowed down quite a bit since growth management was implemented. This was about 25-30 years ago in King County (home of Seattle) and in the decade following for other counties.

But that's not the topic here.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2017, 8:39 PM
Sam Hill's Avatar
Sam Hill Sam Hill is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Denver
Posts: 374
Quote:
Originally Posted by dktshb View Post
City limits are such a bad way to compare densities unless each city was the same square miles and had identical topography equal park space and equal amounts of land within their city boundaries that would naturally be less dense or impossible to develop such as mountain ranges, wet lands, etc.
Yep. It’s a terrible way to compare densities IMO. Being a Denverite, I always cringe when I see Denver on a list of cities whose population densities are being compared. Denver International Airport is technically within the city limits of Denver (although it feels like it’s way off in Kansas). It’s 54 square miles and of course it has zero population. Our airport is larger than the city of San Francisco and more than double the size of Manhattan. With the airport, Denver’s population density is about 4400/sq mi. Without the airport, it goes up to about 6800/sq mi. That’s a big difference (although 6800 still isn’t that impressive, I know). There would have to be plenty of other cities that include large bodies of water or whatever with similarly skewed population densities.


Denver International Airport is bigger than Manhattan, San Francisco, Miami
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2017, 9:44 PM
mhays mhays is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,715
That would drive me nuts if I lived in Denver. Portland is similar though not to the same extent, with tens of square miles between Forest Park, various wetlands, and some industrial alongside the river bottoms. Other cities annexed 200 square miles of suburbia including a lot of undeveloped land.

It happens on the neighborhood level too. Some might be pretty dense, but the other half of a census tract might be a park. A big exception is Manhattan, where Central Park is its own tract, so it doesn't reduce the huge density numbers for the surrounding tracts.

On the flip side you have cases like Vancouver where even the iconic park next to the Downtown Peninsula isn't within city limits. And just drawing the city limits close-in means the density figure is a bit higher than it should be. Of course it would still be dense by US standards with another 50 square miles but it would be less so. San Francisco and Miami are similar.

Back to Seattle, we've been adding about 150-200 per square mile per year lately. Since most of it is in 1/7 of the city, it's more like those areas are collectively adding 1,000 per square mile per year on average in the fastest years. (Actually much of our growth has been an increase in roommates, kids living at home, fewer vacancies, etc., which are more evenly spread out.) That won't continue but it's exciting to watch.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2017, 10:11 PM
Sam Hill's Avatar
Sam Hill Sam Hill is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Denver
Posts: 374
I'm surprised this other thread didn't gain any traction. For a demographics geek like me, I found this interactive tool to be very fascinating. I’ve literally wasted hours comparing cities. In particular, I found the population density graph to be the most interesting (unfortunately you have to scroll down to the bottom for it). When you look at Seattle, you can see how the downtown population density has exploded over the past 25 years, while the rest of the metropolis has remained relatively stable. There are a lot of cities that look like that – mostly the boomtowns. In rust-belt cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, etc., you find reduced density in the core. There are some surprises. Apparently downtown Minneapolis has really been booming. I never see Minneapolis mentioned in any of the countless articles about the booming downtowns of America, so I had no idea. I assumed Minneapolis had been a stable, low-growth city in recent years – sort of like Milwaukee. Speaking of Milwaukie, it’s much denser than I realized. And there are cities like Kansas City that have shockingly less density than I expected (Kansas City’s density never gets above about 3200 per square mile at any point on the graph).

I’m not completely sure about the accuracy of the data, and I don’t know if they accounted for bodies of water, etc., but it’s fascinating to look at anyway.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2017, 10:38 PM
ue ue is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Notleygrad, Albertastan
Posts: 8,703
Quote:
Originally Posted by dktshb View Post
City limits are such a bad way to compare densities unless each city was the same square miles and had identical topography equal park space and equal amounts of land within their city boundaries that would naturally be less dense or impossible to develop such as mountain ranges, wet lands, etc.
True, but the stats would be even worse if you used the entire Seattle-Tacoma region. Seattle has a dense core and a few dense urban neighbourhoods (Belltown, Cap Hill) but beyond that it's amazing how much it sprawls, considering its "urban" reputation. Portland is similarly bad although it doesn't feel *as* sprawly, they both suck compared to Vancouver. It's amazing the difference, really. That being said, Seattle does have a vibrant, densifying inner city that you can't say for most of the US' cities.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2017, 6:48 PM
destroycreate's Avatar
destroycreate destroycreate is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,143
1. I wouldn't call Seattle "sprawly"...when I think sprawl, I think exurbs of Atlanta, Vegas or Phoenix. Nearly all of our suburbs have walkable cores/areas and in my opinion are more akin to streetcar suburbs if anything.

2. How on Earth is DEN the same size of San Francisco? It's 7x7 square miles? How can an airport even be that big!?
__________________
**16 years on SSP!**
Previously known as LaJollaCA
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2017, 8:06 PM
mhays mhays is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,715
No, Denver is much bigger. The map is just DIA. Denver minus DIA is over 100 square miles, quite a bit larger than Seattle.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2017, 10:37 PM
ue ue is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Notleygrad, Albertastan
Posts: 8,703
Quote:
Originally Posted by destroycreate View Post
1. I wouldn't call Seattle "sprawly"...when I think sprawl, I think exurbs of Atlanta, Vegas or Phoenix. Nearly all of our suburbs have walkable cores/areas and in my opinion are more akin to streetcar suburbs if anything.

2. How on Earth is DEN the same size of San Francisco? It's 7x7 square miles? How can an airport even be that big!?
Because this is what it looks like, as opposed to this. Walkable cores are nice and all, but when it falls apart beyond that and there isn't even rapid transit access, it's sprawly. Have you not seen the I-5? Seattle is very elongated in its sprawl along that freeway, from Camp Murray to Marysville.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #16  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2017, 5:35 AM
mhays mhays is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,715
It's also a series of older cities along that route. You're essentially saying the south end of Tacoma to just north of Everett.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #17  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2017, 5:41 AM
ue ue is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Notleygrad, Albertastan
Posts: 8,703
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
It's also a series of older cities along that route. You're essentially saying the south end of Tacoma to just north of Everett.
Camp Murray is pretty suburban. As is Tacoma once you get past 16/I-5. Not really sure your point here as even with these "older cities" with intact walkable cores, which are a fraction of the total area Seattle-Tacoma takes up, most everything in-between is extremely sprawly.

There's old walkable cores in Vancouver, too. Difference is the more efficient use of land between those old cores.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #18  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2017, 5:50 AM
dc_denizen's Avatar
dc_denizen dc_denizen is offline
Selfie-stick vendor
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 4,507
How much of the land area of Vancouver is single family homes?
__________________
Joined the bus on the 33rd seat
By the doo-doo room with the reek replete
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #19  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2017, 1:09 PM
eixample eixample is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 77
This point may go without saying, but the lack of density is not simply about single-family vs. multi-family but rather the size of the single-family lots. Philly, for example, is very heavily oriented towards single-family, but so much of it is row homes with 1000 sq foot lots or under that it is pretty dense for an American city (and would be so much denser if the vacant lots were filled up).
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #20  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2017, 4:18 PM
mhays mhays is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,715
True, much of the city of Tacoma, city of Everett, etc. is spread-out suburbia. The Seattle metro grew heavily in all the bad decades of sprawl.

But my point is that the long, skinny orientation of the metro is due to the string of cities. Our sprawl is generally not far from an old urban core of some kind, or at least the newer job centers of Bellevue/Redmond.
Reply With Quote
     
     
This discussion thread continues

Use the page links to the lower-right to go to the next page for additional posts
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 7:33 AM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.