Urban Intensification in Seattle: A Data System, Policy Evaluation and Market Analysis
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This dissertation uses three related essays to examine the policies and processes influencing urban intensification within the City of Seattle from 2000 to 2012. I begin by constructing a toolbox-type planning support system (PSS) capable of generating parcel-level land use change data. Using data from this system, I then analyze the conformance of housing unit growth to the spatial patterns forecast by the City's Urban Village strategy. The third component builds a statistical model of low-rise redevelopment for the purpose of understanding the factors associated with increased redevelopment risk. More specifically I find that: 1. Using open source software and publically available data a tool-box type planning support system (PSS) can be created that allows for flexible analysis of changes to land use within dense urban areas. Termed the Land Use Change Identification and Analysis (LUCIA) system, this tool can export raw data for external use, create analytical tables and produce two- and three-dimensional visualizations of land use change. 2. Overall, the Urban Villages have met housing unit growth targets for the 2000 to 2012 period. The smaller and less dense Hub and Residential Urban Villages have led the way. From a relative standpoint, non-Urban Village areas have grown nearly as fast as the areas within the Urban Villages, calling into question the efficacy of the strategy in concentrating growth. Finally, breaking growth down by unit type shows that areas experiencing growth through a mix of housing types greatly exceeded targets; those heavily dependent on a single type of unit for growth did not. 3. In general, larger lots, smaller homes and greater potential gains in overall density are the biggest drivers of higher redevelopment risk for existing single family homes in Seattle's Lowrise zones. Neighborhood factors and option values do play a moderate, but nuanced role. Priming effects show a consistent, positive relationship with redevelopment. Finally, the redevelopment process itself is shown to vary over both space and time, suggesting that intensification policies should be flexible and attempt to take advantage of the locational variations in the market.
- Urban planning