Housing is an urgent climate justice issue, that will only get more so (as other places become less livable due to climate change). When people are pushed out of the city due to rising rents (or unable to move into the city due to a lack of housing, affordable or otherwise), they are pushed to places that are poorly served by transit, so they need to drive more. Because they are larger and more car-dependent, dwellings outside the city result in much higher emissions. The carbon footprint of urban households in dense neighborhoods is approximately 50% below average, and households in suburbs are up to double the average. (Even though they are often close-in and dense, affluent suburbs are the worst, because of larger houses and higher consumption levels.)
We can’t reduce emissions without attending to the interlocked—and interesting!—possibilities around housing and transit. We think that if we do attend to these properly, a better Seattle will result: more affordable, more walkable, safer, and healthier.
Read our letter to Mayor Durkan, which lays out some of our thinking as we move forward on this critical issue. You can also read what we wrote about the City’s surplus substation properties, and about parking requirements for ADUs (and for more on parking, watch this video). We have a new transportation team, and a housing team will follow soon! Email Emily if you’re interested in working on this.