Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Where is Downtown?

The new page on the City of Tacoma's website previewing the Downtown Tacoma Economic Development Strategic Plan states the following: "Every day, 40,000 employees work in downtown Tacoma..." This number seems too high to many who read it--what's the truth?

First of all, that number reflects the new, larger working definition for downtown--from Thea Foss to Hilltop and from the Stadium District to I-5. The 40,000 number was derived from Claritas, a syndicated provider of demographic information; City staff reviewed this provider's count--which actually was closer to 46,000--and took out obvious doubles, which dropped the total to 40,000.

This doesn't necessarily jibe with standard data sources, such as the population and employment data offered by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC). The PSRC uses Traffic Analysis Zone (TAZ’s) data, which are supported by Employment Security and CTR information. The challenge for this data set is that it is not easily shaped to capture the working definition of downtown, so one would have to make several assumptions to arrive at a plausible number and may still be incorrect.

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