Next up in my series on the Census 2010 results is a population density map for the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area. The GMA urban growth area (UGA) boundaries are shown for King and Snohomish counties (I’d love to also show the Pierce County growth boundaries, but alas, their data sharing policy is c. 1998).
A few points that jumped out at me from the map:
- The Puget Sound region has succeeded at keeping higher population densities within the Urban Growth Boundaries (i.e. nothing but blue outside the lines). There is still too much blue inside the lines, however, so we have room to grow.
- Population in Snohomish County clusters around Highway 99 more than I-5, all the way up to Everett. All the more reason to build North Link light rail along 99 instead of I-5, as I have argued earlier.
- Our industrial areas are far too unpopulated. The largest blue areas within the UGA are Paine Field/Everett Boeing Plant, the Duwamish and Green River industrial valleys, and the Port of Tacoma/Puyallup Nation. This extreme form of monoculture land use is unsustainable, forcing people to live a minimum of several miles from their jobs and requiring duplication of retail services. There are shops in the industrial areas only used during the day, and shops in the residential areas primarily used in the evenings; neither are very profitable. Residential urban villages at a few locations in industrial areas would liven things up with minimal impact on industrial land availability.
Click here for the full-size pdf of the map.