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I am very sympathetic to the author's aims, but am wary of simple solutions. In the 1980's, the neighborhood I lived in in Seattle, Ballard, was rezoned to allow multi-family housing in what had been a traditional single-family neighborhood. In the rush to take advantage of the new market for multi-unit buildings, developers tore down dozens of historic homes, including many of historic significance. A group of neighbors and I engaged in a six-year campaign to modify the zoning to limit the size and shape of multi-family buildings, establish a design review process, and protect some surviving blocks of single-family homes. Since then, the City has continued work on standards for accessory dwelling units (ADU's) to make sure that they integrate successfully in urban neighborhoods.

The take-home message is that density can be successfully added to single-family neighborhoods, but the community needs to be as concerned about the nature and quality of new construction as about its density. Upzoning is probably part of the solution but further tools - historic preservation, design review, and others - are needed to produce the vibrant, attractive, and inclusionary neighborhoods that the author champions.

From: To create affordable housing, we must legalize it | Housing Hub

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