Puget Sound Mapping Project

Looking at Puget Sound growth patterns

Note: Click on the map below to be connected to an interactive online version. You can find out more information on data definitions, acquisition and analysis via the tutorial materials and videos below.

About the maps and data

City and county zoning classifications were assigned to one of 32 sub-categories based upon a matrix describing predominant land uses and attributes such as residential density, building heights, and impervious coverage. 

translation table show the specific assignments for each polygon and denotes the zoning designations by city and/or county.

We worked with the Washington State of Office of Financial Management’s Small Area Estimates Program to have existing and new housing units calculated for polygons. This data provides information on annual housing growth between 2001 and 2017.  This data also indicates the existing housing stock as of 2000.  Unit data is not differentiated by unit type (i.e. detached, apartment, mobile home, etc.).  The housing growth layer’s polygons have attribute fields that allow estimates to be summarized in a number of potential ways including by land-use categories, city, county, urban growth area and Watershed Characterization Assessment Unit. See tutorial information below for details on how to conduct these calculations.

Metadata that complies with the Federal Geographic Data Committee (ISO) 191xx standards was prepared for the land use layer and is available in PDF form.

An Excel table of population estimates for each polygon provides the ability to summarize statistics by years, or groups of years, by a number of geographic boundaries. These boundaries include city/county name, urban/rural status, watershed analysis, and land use subcategory.

Within the table, the abbreviation “HU” indicates housing units as identified by the Washington State Office of Financial Management Small Area Population Estimates. https://ofm.wa.gov/washington-data-research/population-demographics/population-estimates/small-area-estimates-program.

“HU_2000” indicates the number of housing units located within the polygon in 2000.  “HU_2001” indicates the number of housing units in 2001, and so on. Columns that contain fields listed as “NEW” mean the number of new units constructed between indicated dates, for example, “NEW_00_10” means units constructed between 2000 and 2010.  Similarly, columns headed by the abbreviation “PCT” means the percentage increase in the number of units over that period.  While the full name of the field does not show on the web display, it will be fully visible by maximizing column width after download.

Base units (those existing pre-2000) can be calculated by dividing the net new units by percentage change – for example if 1,500 new units occurred between 2000 and 2010 and the percentage change was 66.67 percent then the base units would be 2,250 (1,500/.6667 = 2,250).

“FID” represents the attribute table ID number.  “MASTER_CAT” and “SUB_CAT” correspond to the master and sub land-use category designations for that polygon while “SUB_CAT_1” shows polygons with active land uses (minus water, rights-of-way, undesignated, etc.).  The column entitled “URB” indicates the polygons location within a Growth Management Act designated urban area.  The “CITY_NM” column indicates the city, if applicable, and “NAME” provides the information on the county in which the polygon is located. “AUPolyID” provides the WRIA Watershed Characterization Project Assessment Unit number in which the Polygon is located.  The “LUCodeID” and “SubCID” fields correspond to polygon identification numbers contained in the attribute table for the housing unit map layers.

In 2017, our region-wide mapping analysis indicates that most housing development within urban growth areas, has occurred primarily in Intensive Urban (12,748 units) and Urban Character Residential (6,276 units) land use categories.  In rural areas, the Rural Character Residential (1,589 units) land use category has experienced the most growth. Other land use categories accounted for 463 new units. Mixed Use and Commercial Area growth rates are increasing with 2017 rates exceeding the annual average rate from 2000-2017. In addition, Low Density Urban Residential (1.1-3 Units/Acre) areas also saw higher rates in 2017 than the long-term average annual rate.

Please contact Charlene Andrade via email at charlene.andrade@commerce.wa.gov and provide details about the nature of the problem (such as incorrect categorization of a land use, error in boundaries, trouble displaying, or downloading).

The Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) believes in the importance of the public’s right to know about its operations and activities. Commerce prepares and uses this data and information as a conceptual tool. GIS Data is intended to be used as a GUIDE. These maps were created from available public records and existing map sources, and from different surveyors and their surveys. Map features from all sources have been adjusted to achieve a ‘best fit’ registration to the Zoning of parcels. While great care was taken in this process, maps from different sources rarely agree as to the precise location of geographic features. The relative positioning of map features to one another results from combining different map sources without field ‘ground truthing’. This data and information may contain aggregate, anonymous statistics. This data and information should not be construed, express or implied, as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Commerce discloses this data and information as-is without any warranty, and Commerce expressly disclaims all express or implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular use. The burden for determining fitness for use lies entirely with the user. In no event shall the Commerce have any liability whatsoever for payment of any consequential, incidental, indirect, special, or tort damages of any kind, including, but not limited to, any loss of profits arising out of use of or reliance on the geographic data or arising out of the delivery, installation, operation, or support by Commerce. No public agency, public official, public employee, or custodian shall be liable, nor shall a cause of action exist, for any loss or damage based upon the release of a public record if the public agency, public official, public employee, or custodian acted in good faith in attempting to comply with the provisions of Washington’s Public Records Act. Commerce reserves the right to alter, suspend, re-host, or retire this service at any time and without notice. This service can be used in custom web applications and software products. Your use of this service in these types of tools forms a dependency on the service definition (available fields, layers, etc.). If you form any dependency on this service, be aware of a significant risk to your purposes. Consider mitigating your risk by extracting the source data and using it to host your own service in an environment under your control.

Click here to go to the geo.wa.gov page to download the layer showing land use by sub-category.

Click here to go to the geo.wa.gov page to download the layer showing housing units created between 2001 and 2017.

Click here to go to the geo.wa.gov page to download the layer showing housing units created during 2017.

Click here to go to the geo.wa.gov page to download the layer showing all housing units existing as of 2017.

What are we seeing in growth patterns?

Growth rates slowed markedly during the recession and only recently started to match pre-recession rates. King County has captured almost half of the region’s new housing units between 2000 and 2017.  Snohomish and Pierce County have also seen high levels of growth. Within the region’s rural areas, growth has clustered within a few miles of the urban growth boundaries.

Increasing populations and development typically results in loss of vegetation and increased impervious surfaces (pavement and buildings). Increases in impervious surfaces reduces the amount of water that is naturally absorbed into the ground and reduces the amount of ground water available for drinking.  Impervious surfaces also increases run-off of contaminants like fertilizers and pesticides to rivers, lakes and the ocean, reducing the amount and quality of water that is available for people, aquatic life, and wildlife. Threats to water quality challenge our best efforts to reduce impacts of urbanization.

One of the Puget Sound Partnership’s Vital Sign recovery targets for 2020 is to focus at least 85% of regional growth within urban areas (and to protect rural areas by limiting rural development less than 15% of the overall total). As of 2017, the region is meeting this goal, with less than 10% of growth occurring in rural areas over the past few years.  However, recently, as growth continues to increase, development is starting to shift to rural areas, and some specific counties continue to struggle to meet their individual goals. Go here for line graph.

Dept. of Ecology’s Watershed Characterization Project designated approximately 3,000 “Watershed Characterization Assessment Units” (AUs) throughout the Puget Sound.  Overall, our mapping indicates that these AUs saw the creation of 430,316 new housing units between 2000 and 2017; or an increase of just over 26%. Areas of high housing growth outside of urban growth boundaries are broadly associated with coastal plains near cities, within the valleys of the Cascade Mountains and near freeways, highways or major roadways. A map of growth within Ecology’s AUs shows a broad depiction of growth patterns.

In 2017, our region-wide mapping analysis indicates that most housing development within urban growth areas, has occurred primarily in Intensive Urban (12,748 units) and Urban Character Residential (6,276 units) land use categories.  In rural areas, the Rural Character Residential (1,589 units) land use category has experienced the most growth. Other land use categories accounted for 463 new units. Mixed Use and Commercial Area growth rates are increasing with 2017 rates exceeding the annual average rate from 2000-2017. In addition, Low Density Urban Residential (1.1-3 Units/Acre) areas also saw higher rates in 2017 than the long-term average annual rate.

Most of the region’s urban growth is occurring in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Tacoma and their proportion of regional growth appears to be increasing. In addition, large master planned communities such as the Issaquah Highland, Snoqualmie Ridge and Redmond Ridge show intensive new housing growth. In the southern portions of the region, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), Frederickson and Puyallup are experiencing the heaviest housing production. Mill Creek, Alderwood, Marysville, and Lake Stevens are more recent heavy growth counterparts on the northern end of the region. Whatcom, Skagit, Kitsap, and Thurston counties are also showing strong yearly increases in both rural and urban areas. In other counties, such as Clallam, Island, Jefferson, Mason, and San Juan, rural development is occurring at a rate similar to (or higher than) urban development levels.

Looking at regional housing development

The Puget Sound region has experienced substantial residential development since 2001.  The first map below shows new housing units built between 2001 through 2017.  The second map shows new units built between 2016 and 2017. The third map depicts cumulative development from pre-1900s to 2017. Each dot on these maps represents approximately 10 new housing units.

Puget Sound Housing Growth

Note: Click on the map icons below for a larger version

New Housing Units 2001 - 2017

New Housing Units, 2017

Total Housing Units over Time (pre 1900 through 2017)

Project Purpose

To provide a mapping tool for regional and local governments that shows growth patterns around the Puget Sound Region using consistent methods across cities and counties.

This interactive mapping tool allows decision makers to compare expected and actual development patterns over the landscape and across major land use categories (and subcategories) of land use zoning. Some of the ways the data and maps can be used is to:

 – Look at the acreage of land-uses by type within defined areas (neighborhoods, urban growth areas, watersheds, etc.)
 – Calculate the amount of housing development happening within defined areas or categories of land-use (i.e. urban residential areas, agricultural areas, etc.)
 – Analyze patterns of land-use and housing growth to understand if plans are working as intended or whether unintended impacts are happening in areas experiencing growth pressures.

The insights gained from these maps enables more data-driven decisions and can be integrated with resource agency maps to assist local governments with comprehensive planning.

Project Funding

This project has been funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (via agreement PC-00J27601 with the Washington State Department of Ecology). The contents of this web page and its documents do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor constitute any endorsement or recommendations.

Need information or see a technical problem with a map?

Please contact Charlene via email at charlene.andrade@commerce.wa.gov and provide details about the nature of the problem (such as incorrect categorization of a land use, error in boundaries, trouble with data display or downloading). We recommend reviewing the tutorial presentations below for more information on how to access, download or find more details on items such as definitions for zoning categories..

Charlene Andrade, Senior Planner
Growth Management Services
charlene.andrade@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-725-3063

 

Webinar: A Walk Through the Maps

Puget Sound Mapping Project Description (PDF)

Using the Maps: A Friendly Tutorial

Additional Information and Mapping Tools

Washington State Department of Ecology
Puget Sound Watershed Characterization Project Compares areas of Puget Sound basin in terms of sustainability and value for restoration and protection.  Provides information on individual watersheds in terms of:  water flow processes, water quality processes, and fish and wildlife habitats.
Coastal Atlas: Includes maps on flood hazard maps, shoreline biology, hydrography, spill response, shoreline modifications and the Shoreline Management Act jurisdictions as well as geomorphology.
Water Quality AtlasShows approved and in-development water quality improvement projects state-wide, water quality status for a particular location, and location of permitted outfalls.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources
http://www.dnr.wa.gov/geologyportal

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
High Resolution Change Detection Project: The High Resolution Change Detection project utilizes aerial imagery to detect changes in land cover within the Puget Sound regions. Information is also available here.
SalmonScape: This web application  displays a wide range of data related to salmon distribution, status, and habitats. The data sources used by SalmonScape include stream specific fish and habitat data, and information about stock status and recovery evaluations.
SCORE (Salmon Conservation and Reporting Engine): This WDFW application leads you to maps for different WRIAs and summarized data and information about salmon conservation for each WRIA.
StreamNet: Salmon GIS data and maps for the Pacific Northwest are also available.

Washington State Office of Financial Management
Small Area Population Estimate (SAEP): Small Area Estimates Program (SAEP) estimates are meant to provide a consistent set of small area population and housing data for statewide applications. SAEP estimates are generated for census areas and other areas of statewide significance.