Category: Research

Introducing “Foot Traffic Ahead 2016”

There are 619 regionally significant, walkable urban places (or “WalkUPs”) in the nation’s 30 largest metro areas.

Foot Traffic Ahead 2016, released today by LOCUS in conjunction with the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business, looked at all of them.

The new report ranks the country’s 30 largest metropolitan areas based on the amount of commercial and multi-family rental development in WalkUPs, and uses a series of forward-looking metrics to predict how walkable their future development might be. The research also uses social equity metrics like housing costs, transportation costs, and access to jobs to understand the relationship between walkability and social equity.

The research found that walkable urban market share growth in office and multi-family rental increased in all 30 metro areas between 2010-2015, while drivable sub-urban locations have lost market share.

Not surprisingly, New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle ranked at the top of current areas for walkable urbanism. But the research points to other cities including Phoenix, Los Angeles, and metro Detroit as best-positioned for future growth of walkability given current efforts in those the communities.

Download the full report to see the full rankings, including which metros are getting the most out of their current development, which have the greatest momentum, and which rank the highest for social equity.

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Why are federal programs restricting mixed-use development?

uchf-bannerStreet-level stores with apartments above them, like these along Main Street in Ossining, NY, are one example of the type of development current federal regulations restrict.

A growing number of Americans wanting to live in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods—but arcane federal rules make it unnecessarily difficult to build this type of development. A recent study by the Regional Plan Association, released in partnership with LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, highlights how—and what lawmakers can do to change it.

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Introducing “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Michigan Metros”

michigan-metros3

Walkable real estate development projects and places are on the rise nationwide. LOCUS has looked at how these trends are playing out in Atlanta, Washington, DC, and Boston. Today, we’re excited to unveil the fourth report in our WalkUP Wake-Up Call series.

The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Michigan Metros looks at development in seven Michigan metropolitan areas: Detroit-Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, Lansing, Jackson, Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Saginaw-Bay City-Midland, and Flint. Our analysis of these areas finds that in the most recent real estate cycle, 22 percent of all new income property development located in the 2.7 percent of land that is walkable urban. This share of new development is up from only 6 percent in the 1990s real estate cycle and 12 percent from the 2001-2008 cycle.

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Coming soon: “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Michigan”

On June 23, LOCUS will unveil a new analysis of which walkable urban places—or “walkUPs”—are changing the real estate landscape in seven metropolitan areas in Michigan.

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New analysis examines the fiscal implications of development patterns in West Des Moines, IA

fiscal-implications-wdm-coverIn early April, Smart Growth America released a new model for analyzing the fiscal performance of urban development. The City of Madison, WI, was the first city to use the new model in their development planning.

Today we’re proud to release new analysis of development patterns in West Des Moines, IA. The new research examines four different strategies for West Des Moines’ growth over the next 20 years. Each scenario assumes the development of 9,275 housing units and 2.69 million square feet of commercial space, which is in keeping with West Des Moines’ current growth.

The four scenarios have different densities and a different mix of home types. A “base density” scenario approximates the average density of development in West Des Moines today; a “low density” and “higher density” scenario represent incrementally lower, and higher development densities, respectively, than the base. And a “walkable urban” scenario has the highest density of all scenarios considered and represents a more dramatic departure from the typical development pattern in West Des Moines (though does not propose any high-rise development).

The model calculates average annual public costs for each scenario. Our researchers subtract that from the average annual public revenues generated by each scenario. The result is the net fiscal impact of each type of development.

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