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ADUs Benefit Wealthy White Homeowners, Study Finds

Cities like Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, and now Seattle are pursuing equity-based agendas for ADUs.
October 22, 2018, 9am PDT | Elana Eden
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Accessory dwelling units are often seen as a path to missing middle housing, allowing cities to add housing supply to low-density neighborhoods. And in Seattle, they've also been eyed as a tool to prevent the displacement of low-income homeowners. But the city's new Racial Equity Toolkit on Policies for Accessory Dwelling Units [pdf] suggests that ADUs would primarily benefit the higher-income, white homeowners building them.

"The RET found changes to ADU policy would result in race-based disparities, notably that wealthy white homeowners would benefit the most from the proposed policy changes," Natalie Bicknell writes in The Urbanist. "Simply put, White households are significantly more likely to own a single-family home and also have the financial resources needed to add an ADU to their property."

Seattle released the Racial Equity Toolkit alongside its Environmental Impact Statement on ADUs.

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Published on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in The Urbanist
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