Some Districts 2 Land Use Stats

mike eliason
3 min readMay 7, 2018
District 2 Map, via City of Seattle

The District 2 Mandatory Housing Affordability public hearing is manana, so, as with past posts, a few notes/thoughts on land use stats.

District 2 (North Beacon Hill, Columbia City, the I.D., Georgetown, Rainier Beach, Othello, and the southern portion of North Rainier urban villages) has 11,059 gross acres. Of that, right of ways constitute 2,896 acres. As with other districts — a massive swath of this is on-street parking– but there’s also I-5, and train infra.

Just how much of D2 is zoned for residential multifamily? A whopping 346 acres. The largest district in Seattle has the, least amount of land zoned for multifamily residential. Almost 40% of D2’s net acres are zoned exclusively for single family. This is fairly incredibly, given there are 6 Light Rail stops in D2. Over 60% of the housing units in D2 are detached single family homes.

Just 10 acres are zoned for residential midrise — 0.1% of the total land area of D2. Nearly a third of D2 is zoned industrial. 416 acres are zoned for commercial and mixed use — just 5% of the land area.

District 2 is barely majority homeowner in both population and households — but won’t be for long. D2 Urban Villages: North Beacon Hill, Columbia City, Rainier Beach, Othello, and North Rainier are all overwhelmingly renter-dominated: over 2/3 of both Othello and Columbia City are renters, Rainier Beach is almost 80% renters, and North Beacon Hill is 75% renters. The median ages in the D2 Urban Villages vary — from 31–37. Less than 5% of the housing units in the International District are owner-occupied. I recently learned that in 21 years, the rainier beach Urban Village — which has a light rail station — has only added 123 homes. Most of them — 86 — were built from 1996–2005. In that same time frame, Columbia City added 1,640 units. Othello added 1,557.

D2 is incredibly diverse — as of 2013 less than 28% of the population was white (the city average is 69.5%). The median age is 38. Almost half of all renter-occupied households pay more than 35% of gross income.

But zoning is not the only major inequity in either District 2. Parks: there is a massive open space deficiency against multifamily housing in these areas — especially in urban villages. Especially in *these* urban villages. We will need radical interventions to add open space and parks here. Almost all of Seward Park (99%!) is single family zoning within a half mile. All these numbers are from the excellent, eye-opening @sightline article, ‘Opening Parks to More Seattleites

As these areas densify, the spatial inequity weighted heavily against multifamily areas and urban villages will continue to increase — even as single family zones stagnate in population, or even decline. The only parks that are majority multifamily within a half mile are Colman Playground, Beacon Hill Playground, and Dr. Jose Rizal Park. The exception to this being the dense urban core of the International District.

Within a half mile of Kubota Garden? 87% single family.
Rainier Beach Playfield? 65% single family.
Othello Playground? 68% single family.
Dearborn Park? 83% single family.
Columbia Park? 63%.
Genessee Park? 75%.
Jefferson Park? 92%.

I could go on and on…



mike eliason

dad | designer | writer | Noted shill for housing. interests: Baugruppen, architecture, passivhaus, mass timber, staedtebau, not for profit housing