Seattle's population is currently a little over 560,000 as of the 2000 census. For the city of Seattle-- a city on a narrow strip of land surrounded by water-- to increase its population by 350,000 by 2040 is... ambitious to say the least.
The Seattle Times quoted Richard Morrill, a geography professor emeritus at the University of Washington as saying "That magnitude of change hasn't happened anywhere except maybe Beijing". The story continues:
For the city to reach such a goal, Morrill said, likely zoning changes and "somewhat astounding density" would reduce the number of single-family homes and families with children in the city, leading to "some kind of rebellion."
What's strange is that Nickels refuses to 'touch' the zoning of existing single family housing. Nickels is rather famous for these pie in the sky proposals- such as the South Lake Union Action Plan.
This is a plan which envisions 15,000 to 23,000 new jobs to be 'created'. We assume that this calculation was done by estimating the number of cubicles one could fit into the newly proposed office space. When the Major makes a major news release that 25 new jobs have been created in South Lake Union it makes one wonder just how long it's going to take to bring in the other 22,975.
I will say one thing about Nickels-- he's got vision. His action plan basically breaks down as thus:
- Attract biotech and other jobs.
- Encourage development of housing for a range of incomes.
- Create a new waterfront park.
- Build a streetcar.
- Improve the Mercer Corridor.
- Build infrastructure for new jobs and housing.