At this point I don’t have much to add what Roger and Bruce had to say about Monday’s Committee of the Built Environment hearing, but I do want to make an observation. There has been a lot of people using the term “pro-density” or “anti-density” without actually qualifying what kind of density they mean. To some, the Roosevelt neighborhood already is their definition of a dense neighborhood, to others Fremont, Ballard or Capitol Hill are dense, and to yet others Belltown is the only example of actual density in Seattle.
So while people will say they are pro-density, what they actually mean by density is much more important. In addition, what people believe the additional density associated with a new Link station should be, over what that neighborhood should otherwise have, is almost never addressed. These issue are compounded by the fact that by in large part single family zones are off the table when it comes to rezones, focusing and compounding growth into a small area.
Below is a post by Dan at his old home at HugeAssCity on the topic.
Much of the heat in the debate over urban density arises from a lack of understanding of what the metrics correspond to in the real world. Below is a series of slides presented at a public hearing on HB1490 by a colleague of mine from GGLO, that illustrates a wide range of densities, i.e, Density 101 for Legislators.
The first two slides address the difference between gross density and net density — this has been a source of confusion for HB1490 opponents, as discussed here.
More after the jump.
The following eight slides illustrate net densities ranging from 14 to 220 dwelling units per acre (DU/AC). Keep in mind that the proposed 50 DU/AC threshold in HB1490 is defined in terms of the net density allowed by zoning.
(Some or you smarty-pantses may recall that in this previous post I claimed that the net density in the Rainier Vista building shown above was about 100 DU/AC. My guess was high because I wasn’t considering the 3-story north end of the building, and also because I didn’t realize there is so much surface parking on the parcel. Go here to see an example of a 3-over-1 building with a net density of 99 DU/AC.)