Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in the US to buy a house or rent an apartment. In 2019, the median price of a single-family home in Seattle was around $760,000 (
). Over the last two decades, rental costs have increased over 150 percent, to an average of $1,790 per month in 2018 (
). In March 2019, in an effort to create more affordable housing, the Seattle City Council approved a plan to upzone 27 Seattle neighborhoods. Upzoning allows for denser land use and requires that developers follow new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) guidelines to create additional income-restricted housing. The plan was approved for the University District neighborhood back in 2017 and generated a great deal of debate.
In this assignment, you will learn about the debates around the cityâ€s approach to address the issue of housing unaffordability in Seattle. You will then engage with these debates and develop your own analysis of the cityâ€s plan and its impacts in the University District.
Information about upzoning and Mandatory Housing Affordability in Seattle:
- “Mandatory Housing Affordability Update.” 2018. City of Seattle Weekly Wonk. (video) (Links to an external site.)
Information about upzoning and Mandatory Housing Affordability in the U District:
- â€œProposed upzoning of U-District debated.â€ King 5 News, May 16, 2016. (video) (Links to an external site.)
- â€œSeattle City Council approves U-District â€˜upzoning.’â€ Kiro 7 News, February 21, 2017. (video) (Links to an external site.)
After reviewing the material above, write a two- to three-page essay that responds to the following questions:
- What is the city governmentâ€s approach to address the issue of housing unaffordability in Seattle? Briefly describe the cityâ€s strategy as outlined in the materials above.
- What are some of the arguments in favor of this approach?
- What are some of the arguments opposed to this approach?
- Think about your own experience in the University District neighborhood. What do you like about the neighborhood? What are some problems youâ€ve seen in the neighborhood? How might the upzoning plan impact the University District neighborhood? Discuss who might benefit and who might be harmed.
- What is your opinion of the cityâ€s approach to address the lack of affordable housing in Seattle? What do you think could or should be done differently?
The paper should be double-spaced with one-inch margins using Times News Roman 12 pt font. You should cite at least three of the above sources in your paper using Chicago Author-Date style (include in-text citations and a reference/works cited list). Feel free to include additional sources as well.
The UW Library Citation Guideincludes information on how to properly cite sources.
The UW Library E-Newspapers Guideincludes information on how to access newspaper articles if you would like to include additional sources in your paper.
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