Can Seattle Add More Housing Units and Jobs?

State and regional agencies estimate that Seattle will add 70,000 housing units (120,000 people) and 115,000 jobs between now and 2035 – an increase of 20% population and 23% in jobs. In response, the City is updating Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan to shape that growth in a way that builds on our strengths and character as a city. The City uses a variety of data to study trends and evaluate policies to plan for future growth as part of the update process. Development capacity is one such analysis.

Development capacity, also referred to as zoned development capacity or zoned capacity, is an estimate of how much new development could occur theoretically over an unlimited time period. DPD, using a computer model and a variety of assumptions, estimates that 223,700 new housing units and 232,000 new jobs could be added under existing zoning. DPD has prepared a Development Capacity report that illustrates the results by urban village and zoning category, and explains how the City estimates development capacity.  The conclusion of the report is that the City can accommodate the next 20 years of expected growth and do so primarily in the urban centers and urban villages, where the Comprehensive Plan wants most growth to occur.

For more information about our update to Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan, visit