TDR - sample historic density analysis

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Lauren Rider
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Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:25 pm

TDR - sample historic density analysis

Post by Lauren Rider » Tue Feb 06, 2024 8:59 am

Below are details behind comments I made at the Jan. 23, 2024 Council Meeting during discussion of MMH. It is important as we discuss housing policy to consider the cultural norms and shifts.

Via constituent requests, I was asked to share specifics about the sample density analysis I shared during discussion. Density and understanding the changes in density is a lens to understanding American's cultural approach to housing. Today's density reflects a cultural shift towards singular occupied dwellings and smaller families with fewer children. The US Census department provides some analysis is current trends, including: ... erson.html

The comments I shared on Jan. 23, 2024 were an analysis from the census and city directories made by a constituent.
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700-Luttrell (1).pdf
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This is a single block analysis of single family historic homes from 1910 to current.
When the block was “fully built” by 1910, there were 13 houses, making up 13 housing units and 67 residents.
-Housing units were added while one house was demolished for the church parking lot over the next 30 years, but there was no significant population change – still 72 residents. Separate families as the census and the city directories consider them.

- 1950 is where the real change comes in – post-WWII-housing shortage, and into the suburban boom. Suddenly, the 12 remaining houses have 27 units and 100 total residents. The houses were divided into (often unpermitted) units, more and more people occuppied them, the neighborhood declined, and even the undivided houses largely became rentals. The infrastructure of the block and the stability of the neighborhood were built for 70ish people, but that number had increased by 50%.

-By 2023, three of the once-divided remaining 11 houses had been returned to single family, and though the total number of housing units was still 15 compared to 1910’s 13, the total population of the block had crashed to 29 – 40% of what the historical, stable density had been.

The current density of the neighborhood is significantly lower than it's 1910 density. You couldn’t squeeze enough ADUs onto the block to double its population, but that wouldn’t even get it back to its historical population. It could be deduced, the infrastructure investment in the inner city is being underutilized.

1950 illustrates the downside of historic conversions. The chart doesn’t convey the economic reality of the time. People were leaving the city for the suburbs in 1950 and property values had crashed. A typical example in the 1950's = a $10,000 house was cut into three apartments without adherance to codes. The 1950's was an illustration of disinvestment which is not a current parallel.
Lauren Rider
Knoxville City Council - 4th District
Cell 865-964-3905 -

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