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No, Seattle Is Not Running Out of Room

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The "[INSERT CITY HERE] is running out of room" mantra is a popular one for NIMBYs. We've heard it plenty here in Seattle as well as the city tries to figure out how to add affordable housing and density to a city full of neighborhoods that aren't too keen on accommodating them. The Washington Post has noticed the trend across the nation and is calling bull**** on it by citing just how uncrowded major American cities are compared to cities around the world. Specifically, when you compare Seattle to other cities, it's not even close. Not to say that we would want the kind of density that a Mumbai is dealing with, but whatever capacity we think we've hit is all in our heads.

This quote from George McCarthy, the president of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, sums up the sentiment:

"One of the things about being 'full' — or saying you're 'full' — is the conclusion that the quality of life in the place will never be better than it is right now," he goes on. "That's what people are really saying. They're saying 'any change you make is going to require a sacrifice of one sort or another that we're not willing to make.'" By this logic, the latest person to move to San Francisco, or Portland, or even Detroit is always, miraculously, the last one to squeeze in before the gates must slam shut.

Says McCarthy: "This is the American mantra: I'm here, all development can stop."

· There is no such thing as a city that has run out of room [WaPo]
· HALA Proposal Drives 'Grand Bargain' for Affordable Housing [CS]