Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The real estate industry's take on "renewed urbanization"

This article "Renewed Urbanization Will Drive Change in Retail Strategies" in National Real Estate Investor, is by David Lynn, managing director, generalist portfolio manager and head of investment strategy for ING Clarion Partners in New York. Basically, this is "the word" from the investment community...

From the article:

Changing demographics and shifting land use patterns will significantly influence development of retail investment strategies going forward.

These trends taken together represent a progression toward greater urbanization in the U.S., a movement back toward the cities and to higher density living and diverse patterns of mixed-use development.

This evolving trend stems from contemporary choices of Baby Boomers and Echo Boomers, rising transportation costs, and community and government preferences toward mixed-use, higher-density, walkable communities and away from suburban sprawl.

The renewed urbanization represents a significant turn from suburbanization patterns of the past decades. Retailers are already adapting their formats to respond to these changes.

Investors will also need to reformulate retail strategies, given changing patterns of demand and land use. A closer look follows.

The big problem is that the foundation of understanding of urban design and development principles is pretty weak on the part of real estate development firms. Many of the firms attracted to urban markets because of demand are still very much patterned by suburban development practices and forms. It's a struggle to get them to "think different."

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