The Palo Verde neighborhood in south Palo Alto in many ways epitomizes the changes that the city at large has experienced over the past decade.
Located south of Loma Verde Avenue and east of Middlefield Road and identified as tract 5108.1 on the U.S. Census map, the largely residential neighborhood has seen relatively solid growth between 2010 and 2020, with its total population rising from 5,290 to 5,999 residents, a growth of about 13%.
Despite the influx to Palo Verde, the neighborhood has seen virtually no housing development over the 10 years — a statement that can apply to the vast majority of Palo Alto neighborhoods — though it has grown in both average age and racial diversity.
In some tracts, the quantity of housing actually decreased: Crescent Park lost 18 housing units between the two census counts, going from 1,866 in 2010 to 1,848 in 2020.
Crescent Park wasn't the only north Palo Alto neighborhood, however, that has failed to contribute to the city's much talked about housing shortage. Despite the City Council's efforts to encourage more residential construction in the transit-friendly, service-rich downtown area — a key goal of the city's Comprehensive Plan and numerous zoning reforms — even neighborhoods closest to downtown's commercial core have seen a dearth of new housing. The neighborhoods of Downtown North and University South (tracts 5113.02 and 5113.01, respectively) collectively saw a net total of 18 new residences between 2010 and 2020, according to census data.
Even in areas that have seen more housing growth, construction has been relatively modest when compared to the council's goals. Tract 5117.05, which includes portions of College Terrace, Stanford Research Park and Stanford University, shows 186 new residences between 2010 and 2020, an increase driven largely by Stanford's recent construction of faculty housing in the area.
Outside Stanford, the biggest contributor to the city's housing stock has been Ventura, which is in some ways the polar opposite of Crescent Park. The population of tract 5107, which includes Ventura and Charleston Meadows, increased by about 15% between 2010 and 2020 and the area added 222 housing units.
The census information is the federal agency's first batch of data pertaining to the 2020 census. The data is used to, among other things, redraw congressional, legislative and local district boundaries and determine the amount of funding jurisdictions get for health care, infrastructure and other spending priorities. The agency plans to release more detailed data, including household statistics, in the coming months.
This story contains 489 words.
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