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, September 28, 2011

Is real estate reporting changing somewhat towards walkability (and bikeability)

According to Christopher Leinberger's The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream, 60% of people are willing to live in walkable places, but most of the available housing market is focused on traditional suburban car-dependent housing.

The increased in-migration to center cities and towns in inner ring suburbs indicates that more people are looking for places that are no so car-dependent.

I haven't done a full-blown "content" analysis, but the regular feature in the Saturday Real Estate section of the Washington Post seems to be changing somewhat and acknowledging this somewhat, in terms of how it describes neighborhoods in terms of their access to biking trails and transit, as well as walkability. Last week's feature, "Where we Live: Warwick Village," about the Warwick Village neighborhood in Alexandria had multiple paragraphs on the walkability element--more writing about this factor than any of the features that I remember even over the past two years.

From the article:

“I thought I wanted the suburban dream,” he said. “I hated it.” Foley, a chef, didn’t like having to drive everywhere, and he didn’t like spending his weekends mowing his lawn and tending to a house that felt too big. After about five years, he sold the house in Springfield and moved back to Warwick Village. ...

“We love the neighborhood,” he said. “You can walk to everything . . . and something about the townhouse setup seems to encourage neighborliness. You see people sitting on their front steps talking.” ...

The neighborhood, which spreads over 12 hilly streets, is just a few miles south of Washington and an easy commute downtown by bus and Metro. It also borders the trendy Del Ray neighborhood. Mount Vernon Avenue — Del Ray’s lively main street, lined with shops and restaurants — is about a 10-minute walk away. Residents can also walk to five neighborhood parks, two farmers markets and other amenities.

Still, center cities can't take their competitiveness on these factors for granted. Leinberger says that 70% of the demand for walkable neighborhoods will be met by suburban communities.

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