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00000181-fa79-da89-a38d-fb7f2b600000Region of Boom is a reporting team at KUOW.We are tracking growth in metropolitan Seattle, which is being reshaped by the demands of a fast-growing technology sector led by Amazon. It’s a boom on a grand scale bestowing wealth and opportunity upon some and disruption and displacement upon others. Take a look at where development is happening now and make sure to tell us what is going on in your own neighborhood.Follow the ongoing discussion at #regionofboomThis project is edited by Carol Smith.

Seattle is in the eye of the housing affordability storm

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
Houses in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood, September 2017.

The rising cost of housing in America's most desirable "creative" cities troubles Richard Florida, urbanist thinker and author. In those cities, the cost of housing is affordable only to the creative class themselves. The rest of the working population — those in service industry or manufacturing — struggle to keep up with rising housing prices.

Florida says what's happening in Seattle, specifically, is surprising even to someone like him, "supposedly in the know."

"Seattle was more affordable than the Bay Area, by probably half, but it was just as expensive, if not more expensive at the metropolitan level, than metropolitan Boston, metropolitan Washington, D.C., and metropolitan New York City," Florida said. 

"Seattle is really in the eye of this storm of a new urban crisis of growing inequality, growing segmentation, and growing housing inaffordability."

Also discussed in this interview:

  • What Amazon should give to Seattle;
  • What cities that aspire to host Amazon's second headquarters should give the company;
  • Whether or not Florida is sorry for boosting creative clusters in cities now that he has seen the downsides.
Year started with KUOW: 1985 – 1986, 1991 – 2004, 2012