We Have a New Name: Seattle For Growth is Here!

You’ll notice a change here and I think it speaks for itself: we are now Seattle For Growth.

I’m still getting used to this switch having been typing our old name for the last five years. I see this name change as an evolution and part of a resolution: always start with what we’re for.

Over the last five years we’ve seen a steady roll back of housing products that were innovative and met people where they were in the market. When we started, we were pushing back on efforts to eliminate single-family housing that was smaller, more compact, and filling in smaller lots. Then there was the efforts to eliminate microhousing and impose a linkage tax on all new housing, and finally, the disastrous Grand Bargain which has the city poised on a cliff of broad uncertainty in the market and higher costs to build housing. All things we have been against.

So the question, “What are you for?” is a mantra to remind us that throughout the last five years we have always been for a lot of great things, especially more housing. When I went through the exercise of developing a new name, here were the economic principles I think articulate what we’re for.

  • Typology – Shelter to Investment. We advocate for improving housing opportunity ranging from better shelter options through rental and ownership to opportunities for investment in the real estate market
  • Location – Housing everywhere. There should be no part of our city or community where healthy and viable housing opportunities should be limited or restricted.
  • Use – Zero zoning, more mixing. Zoning, the segregation of uses of land, is a 20th century solution to a 19th century problem. We don’t need zoning, but a code and rules that efficiently and appropriately blend many uses together including retail, housing, and even some forms of manufacturing.
  • Price – More housing means lower prices. The central theme of the discussion revolves around housing price. The answer is simple: more housing. But price functions as a proxy for many other issues and as an excuse for bad policy. We will share data and tell stories that prove our point and support better policy. Only poor people suffer from scarcity.
  • Efficiency – More small units. I like efficiency better than density, since density is really an example of being efficient. More people living in a smaller area means land and resources are used more efficiently. Our view is that people ought to able to live however they want, but we should let pricing and policy reward efficiency not prejudice against typology, location, density, or size.

I’ll keep elaborating on these points, but I came up with a sentence that I think captures all these:

Imagine a smaller1, live-work unit2, near transit3, that is less expensive3 in a densely populated, walkable neighborhood4.

1.Typology and Efficiency

2.Location, Use, and Efficiency

3.Price and Efficiency

4.Location, Use, Price, and Efficiency

So while the name helps us keep us thinking about what we’re for a lot will stay the same:

  • We continue to advocate for better policies and explain why policies are consistent or not consistent with our message
  • We continue to have regular meetings with City staff and advocate for process improvement in the permitting and entitlement process
  • Maintain the effort to engage with, represent, and advocate for builders, developers, and landlords in the city of Seattle at City Hall and in the media
  • We are still the consistent voice in the city advocating for solutions that work not just feel good.

I look forward to hearing from you in the weeks and months ahead as we continue our work to improve the regulatory environment and understanding how we can create broad support for these ideas that benefit people of all levels of income.

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