Go on, step outside and take a stroll not through the woods, but through an urban area instead.
LOCUS, a national group of real estate developers and investors who work towards creating more sustainable and walker-friendly urban areas, just released a report, Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros, on the most walkable urban areas in America.
Topping the list? Washington D.C., New York City and Boston.
LOCUS, which works in partnership with Smart Growth America (a non-profit that focuses on developing and sustaining great urban neighborhoods), held its LOCUS Leadership Summit on June 17-18 in Washington D.C. The gathering was a forum for real estate developers, investors, members of Congress and others to brainstorm ideas on design, planning, finance, and management.
The highlight of the event, however, was the release of the rankings of the 30 largest metropolitan areas with the most walkable urban areas. The study was conducted by the Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors in coordination with George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis. This year’s rankings updated those from a 2007 report from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.
The study used office and retail space and walkability within the seven categories of the metro area — downtown, downtown adjacent, urban commercial, urban university suburban town center, redeveloped drivable suburban and green or brown field — to determine the rankings.
Phoenix and Orlando fell to the bottom of the list. However, there is hope for them to improve as the study not just looked at each city’s walkability today, but also predicted their future foot-friendliness. In that set of rankings, Boston moved to the number-one spot, and Orlando jumped to number 18.
Further findings suggest a strong correlation between education and walkability as the higher education levels were also found in the top ranking cities. Top ranking cities also had 38 percent higher GDP per capita, and office rent in urban areas was 74 percent higher per square feet than drivable suburban offices.
So while urban areas face lots of difficulties, this report makes it sound like they have a lot going for them as well.
To view the full report, click here.