Seattle in Progress

Are Taller Buildings Ruining Seattle Neighborhoods?

Jul 6, 2015, Ethan Phelps-Goodman

One of the goals of Seattle in Progress is to provide data and research to help ground policy debates. Of the many development issues Seattleites have been debating recently, the question of how big to build in lowrise zones has been one of the most passionately argued. I took a look at this debate in a piece published on last week.

The centerpiece of the research is a map of every 4+ story building built in a lowrise 3 (LR3) zone since the rules were adjusted in 2010 to allow more density.

All 4+ story buildings built in LR3 zones between 2011 and June 2015. Light pins are traditional apartments, darker pins are microhousing. Click on any pin for more information about that building.

My main findings are that:

  • 33 buildings have taken advantage of the increased height allowance in LR3.
  • those buildings are mainly in Capitol Hill and the U-District, with 12 buildings each.
  • over half of the new tall buildings are microhousing.

Read the full piece here: The end of tall buildings in residential neighborhoods?.


Seattle in Progress is a desktop and mobile web app for seeing what's being built in your neighborhood. Our goal is to promote a more informed public discussion about development in Seattle. If you haven't already, check out the main site.