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"It Takes a Village?": Assessing Economic and Social Equity Outcomes Under Seattle's Urban Villages Policy

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Abstract

The coupling of rapid economic and population growth in urban areas around the world presents both opportunities and challenges, particularly within the realms of equity and sustainability. Over the last 50 years, the City of Seattle has witnessed this fast-paced growth firsthand; to manage it, the city implemented a novel planning policy in its 1994 comprehensive plan: the Urban Village Element. Originally designed to promote equitable and sustainable development in delineated villages, the plan has faced challenges in speeding redevelopment, spurring housing construction, and securing an equitable future for city residents. This paper centers itself around a qualitative and quantitative study of urban equity-determining factors, implementing a difference-in-differences approach to estimate the average treatment effect of Seattle’s urban villages policy on social equity relative to neighborhoods outside of villages. This paper concludes by extrapolating those findings to present-day conversations about urban densification and growth management, including the 15-Minute City.

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Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University

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2023-05-18

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urban planning; seattle; social equity; urban economics; econometric analysis

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Government Document

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dissertation or thesis

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