Boom Why Downtown is No Place for Families
posted by October 17 at 13:06 PMon
The P-I had a lengthy story yesterday about the scarcity of families with children in downtown Seattle—just four percent in the urban core, compared with 20 percent in the city as a whole and 37 percent for King County outside Seattle. Among the reasons the P-I cites: few larger (three-bedroom-plus) units, no downtown schools, few amenities like grocery stores, and a lack of “kid-friendly outdoor space.”
I’m not sure grocery stores, parks and a downtown school would make downtown “friendly” to families anyway. For one thing, almost none of the condos that are going on the market now offer floor plans with more than two bedrooms; the few that do charge a million dollars or more. Families that could afford that kind of condo are pretty rare in Seattle; and they’re unlikely to send their kids to public school anyway. Cold, ultramodern downtown condos feel like high-end bachelor pads or empty nests, not places to raise kids and grow old. Finally, and more tangibly, downtown condos generally lack private outdoor space; having a yard is one reason many people cite for moving to the suburbs. I’m not suggesting that encouraging families to move downtown is a bad goal for the city to have; but there are large, structural issues preventing that from happening now, which market forces alone will never address.