About Seattle

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Land Use Quick Statistics

How Seattle's Land Is Used

  • Seattle's area: 53,113 acres (83 square miles)
  • People per acre in 2012: 11.6
  • Acres of rights-of-way: 14,170
  • Acres of parks and open space owned by the City of Seattle: 5,003
  • Acres of open space per 1,000 residents in 2012: 8.9
  • Percent of the population that lives with ¼ mile of a city-owned open space: 85%
  • Percent of the city in single-family zoning (excluding parks and rights-of-way): 54%

What Is Being Built in Seattle

  • Net new housing units added since 2004: 29,330
  • Net new housing units that have issued permits: 13,976
  • Square feet of non-residential space built between 1995 and 2005: Over 25 million

How Seattle's Transit Measures Up

  • Nearly all of Seattle’s population, 97.5%, lives within ¼ mile of a transit stop with some level of service
  • Ranks 7th of the 25 largest U.S. cities in transit service with a Transit Score of 59 (Walk Score)
  • Ranks 6th of the 50 largest U.S. cities for walkability with a Walk Score of 74 (Walk Score)


  • Residential construction permits: Seattle is experiencing high volumes of residential permits with historic highs of residential units in the permit pipeline for 2012. View the new residential unit graph.
  • Land use distribution: Seattle’s land area remains mostly single-family in nature, but most residential development capacity, 93.5 percent, is in the multifamily zoning types with 73 percent in designated growth areas. View the existing land use pie chart.
  • Seattle Comprehensive Plan growth estimates for 2024: From 2004-2012 Seattle added 29,330 net new housing units representing 62 percent of the City’s 20-year growth estimate of 47,000 housing units. Much of that residential growth, 73 percent, has been occurring in the multifamily urban centers and villages. View the residential capacity pie chart.

Existing land use in Seattle: 49% for Single-family, 14% for parks/open space/cembetaries, 11% for major institutions and public facilities/utilities, 8% for multifamily, 6% for commercial/mixed-use, 5% for industrial, and 5% vacant.

Of the new residential units built between 2005 and 2012, 40%  were in Urban Centers, 19% were outside Urban Villages, 19% were in Residential Urban Villages, and 14% were in Hub Urban Villages

Featured Products

Key Data Sources

Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections

  • Permit Tracking System
  • Geographic Information System

King County

Walk Score

Where to Go From Here

Quick Census Facts

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