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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Granny Flat of One’s Own? The Households that Build Accessory-Dwelling Units in Seattle’s King County


This paper inserts itself in current debates about the legalization of Accessory-Dwelling Units (ADUs), by casting a new light on the profiles of households filing ADU permits in the unincorporated areas of Seattle’s King County. Correlations between the concentration of minority households and the permitting of ADUs might call into question preconceived notions that such legalizations benefit suburban, older, white middle-class households in the first place. We seek to address the relationship between legalizing ADUs in King County, the major county of the Seattle metropolitan area, and general characteristics of households who build ADUs, based on age, race, and income. Findings underline premises for further evidence about the fact that minority homeowners benefit from the local permitting of ADUs. These findings could be the translation of a particular adequacy between ADU legalization and the long-term projects of local homeowners to transform their residential space.


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