Finding Good Market Data for Neighborhood Business Districts: Only in Seattle Peer Network Gathering October 9

On October 9, 2014, leaders from nine different neighborhood business districts gathered at the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) headquarters to learn more about data. Over the last few years, the Office of Economic Development (OED) has heard from many people that data training is one of the most useful and important Peer Network Gatherings. This year, we were fortunate that Linda Clark from the Census Bureau and Elliott Krivenko from the Downtown Seattle Association led the discussion about finding good data.

Linda discussed how to find good market data using the Census website. She went step-by-step through a hypothetical case study of how a toy store would use Census data to conduct market research in order to find the best location. The case, although focused on an individual business, could help business district organizations think through the metrics that are important to attract or retain businesses. Linda shared a packet with each attendee that contained do-it-yourself (DIY) exercises, a list of resources for finding good data, and information about social, economic and housing characteristics for Seattle and King County (email Mikel Davila to obtain a packet). Linda also shared a list describing the “50 Ways Census Data are Used,” which can be a helpful starting place since Census data can be daunting at times.

Check out Linda’s presentation slides below:

Next, Elliott dove deeper into individual neighborhood data profiles – OED contracted with DSA in 2014 to create the neighborhood profiles for Seattle’s business districts. Based on the DSA Downtown Economic Profile dashboard, Elliott chose four indicators for neighborhood level data: employment, number of firms, population, and retail and restaurant sales. Each of these indicators, if trending upwards, generally points to a healthy or healthier business district. Elliott also described the methodology behind the data and the data sources. In addition, there is a map located on each neighborhood profile that helps explain the area from which the data originates.

Check out Elliott’s presentation slides below:

Click here to view the Seattle data profile compiled by DSA.

Click here to view the combined Only in Seattle neighborhood data profile.

Individual neighborhood data profiles that are available are listed below. Please email Mikel Davila if you would like a pdf of the neighborhood profile.

Ballard, Beacon Hill, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Central Area, Chinatown/ID, Columbia City, First Hill, Fremont, Georgetown, Lake City, MLK Othello, Pioneer Square, Rainier Beach, Roosevelt, South Park, University District, Uptown, Wallingford, and West Seattle

Click here for the Peer Network meeting notes

Other helpful data sources for neighborhood business districts:

  1. The Department of Neighborhoods has compiled Census data for each defined region or neighborhood.
  2. The Department of Planning and Development has data that is broken down by the City’s definition of Urban Villages.
  3. OED also has a webpage of Seattle’s economic indicators, higher level statistics about Seattle’s overall economy.
  4. For more city-wide data, has information in the following categories: city business, community, education, finance, land base, permitting, public safety, and transportation. For example, with this data, you can find crime statistics by police precinct to inform public safety trends in your neighborhood.