Upzoning in the U District Assignment

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 (Long 2019 ). Over the last two decades, rental costs have increased over 150 percent, to an average of $1,790 per month in 2018 (Rosenberg 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 city’s approach to addressing the issue of housing unaffordability in Seattle. You will then engage with these debates and develop your own analysis of the city’s plan and its impacts in the University District.

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Upzoning in the U District Assignment
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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.) https://www.seattle.gov/hala/videos
Beekman, Daniel. 2019. “Seattle upzones 27 neighborhood hubs, passes affordable-housing requirements.” The Seattle Times, March 18, 2019.
Cohen, Josh. 2019. “Council approves a taller, denser Seattle. What does that mean for housing?” Crosscut, March 18, 2019.
Information about upzoning and Mandatory Housing Affordability in the U District:

Beekman, Daniel. 2016. “Would U District upzone kill cheap housing? Depends whom you ask.” The Seattle Times, December 30, 2016.
Trumm, Doug and Stephen Fesler. 2017. “9-0: City Council Passes U District Rezone Unlocking MHA.” The Urbanist, February 22, 2017.
“Proposed upzoning of U-District debated.” King 5 News, May 16, 2016. (video) (Links to an external site.) https://www.king5.com/video/news/local/seattle/proposed-upzoning-of-u-district-debated/281-2193765?jwsource=cl
“Seattle City Council approves U-District ‘upzoning.’” Kiro 7 News, February 21, 2017. (video) (Links to an external site.) https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/seattle-city-council-approves-u-district-upzoning/496279501/
After reviewing the material above, write a two- to three-page essay that responds to the following questions:

What is the city government’s approach to addressing the issue of housing unaffordability in Seattle? Briefly describe the city’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 you’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 city’s approach to addressing 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 the Chicago Author-Date style (include in-text citations and a reference/works cited list). Feel free to include additional sources as well.

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