Using GIS to Identify Affordable Housing near Transit Stations
Happiness is an easy commute, but finding affordable housing near employment centers or near high-capacity transit is becoming more difficult every year. Many factors contribute to the record pace of increasing housing prices, especially around transit. One factor is that nonprofit and workforce housing providers and developers are getting priced out of the market and are unable to provide housing that meets the demand for middle- and low-income households. MFA is working with two organizations that are focused on addressing this challenge: the Housing Development Consortium and Sound Communities.
Sound Communities’ mission is to “promote the development of complete, walkable, equitable and inclusive neighborhoods at scale across the Puget Sound region in concert with the region’s historic investment in transit.” To do this it needs to have the knowledge base to understand the housing dynamics, demographic trends, housing price trends, and development opportunities in each station area (defined as a 15-minute walk area around a light rail or rapid ride bus stop). MFA is collaborating with Sound Communities and the Housing Development Consortium in the task of creating a web-based, easy-to-use platform that provides an understanding about affordable housing across the roughly 60 station areas in the region.
We recently completed the initial version of this platform around three station areas in the cities of Tukwila, Bellevue, and Kenmore. This initial version blends both Esri and Tableau interfaces to help understand development capacity in each station area, the number and locations of publicly owned and religious-owned properties, and local demographics. Users can explore each station area or compare key indicators between station areas. We are working toward expanding the reach of this knowledge base to other station areas in the region. We are also enhancing the capabilities of the tool to identify opportunities for affordable housing around transit and assess how policy changes could impact these areas.