The Future of Walkable Urbanism

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Image Source: Builder Magazine
Image Source: Builder Magazine
According to a recent report by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis and LOCUS, walkability may be on the rise for some of the nation’s most sprawling cities.

The report, “Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros,” suggests that, if current development trends continue, major cities such as Atlanta, Miami and Detroit will transition from their sprawling urban plans to what’s becoming known as “walkable urban places.”

Also referred to as “WalkUPs,” walkable urban places are characterized by high density and a diverse mix of real estate and transportation options – with spaces such as home, work, school, grocery stores and restaurants all within walking distance.

What’s most interesting about the report, however, is how significant the shift is. Our very own Washington, D.C., tops today’s list of walkable cities, followed by the predictable New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago. While the future list isn’t tied to a specific year, predications show that Atlanta will move from eighth to fifth place, while Detroit jumps from 22nd to eighth and Miami moves from 23rd to fourth.

What does this mean for the future of the building industry? According to a recent article in Builder, professionals would be wise to embrace this trend.

Both Millenials and baby boomers are looking for developments with these characteristics. While Millenials are searching for mixed-use, excitement and buzz, baby boomers are looking to settle in areas where driving is no longer required to access the services they need.

Walkability doesn’t necessarily need to be tied to urban areas either; it can be achieved in urban, suburban and rural locations with the right attributes. Among the list of qualities to focus on is design that encourages interaction, such as larger sidewalks, mid-block alleys and courtyards, along with an emphasis on mixed-use applications with tenants that complement each other, like coffee shops and bookstores.

To read more about the future of walkability, click here.

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