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Before city planners and the city council turn the Crown Hill neighborhood in Northwest Seattle into a “lab” for social engineering through rezoning, it would be instructive to look at the results thus far from urban-village experiments.

Ballard has been rendered unrecognizable after being buried under giant, ugly box apartments, condos and town houses. Yet rents there have shot sky high, and the rezoning article identifies Ballard as one of the whitest areas of the city. Giving developers carte blanche to bulldoze somewhat affordable single family houses and replace them with $800,000 “modern townhomes” will drive up the price of housing, not bring it down.

And what demographic groups do the planners think will be renting the new $2,400 per month apartments in Crown Hill? The fact that there is a correlation between zoning density and racial diversity doesn’t mean that building ugly and expensive box houses in Crown Hill is going to make it more diverse or more affordable. Correlation is not causality.

Allen Johnson, Seattle

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