New Report Targets Increases In Walkable Urban Land Supply

Did you know the pandemic had a bigger impact on walkable communities than ever before?

According to the site, www.SmartGrowthAmerica.org “the past three years have taken the country into unknown territory, and that was especially true for the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

The report goes on to share that “the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted public health, housing prices, and employment, causing many to predict the “death of the city.”

Interestingly, this recent update for the 2023 Foot Traffic Ahead report finds just the opposite: the city endures, and across most metros, grew walkable urbanism.

A recent study released today by SmartGrowthAmerica.org featured a free downloadable report indicating that “19.1% of the total U.S. real GDP and 6.8% of the US population are located in walkable urban places that represent just 1.2% of total landmass of the top 35 US  metros. “

What does this mean to you? Right now,  zoning is in for a big overhaul in order to increase “walkability” and to leverage land supply as communities continue to grow.

According to the report, presently it is illegal to build walkable urban densities and mixed-use development on about 98.8% of land that is presently car-dependent due to restrictive zoning policies in most metropolitan areas.

Tools to address high prices and short supply include zoning reform to increase walkable urban land supply by 5% and expansion and investment in affordable housing.

Additionally, the report reveals “social equity” in metro areas.

This report ranks the metro areas on social equity. They cite three dimensions of rankings that include “affordability, transit, and proximity to walkability” as it applies to different socioeconomic and racial groups.  Their finding is that there is not an inherent tradeoff between walkable urban places and equitable access to walkable neighborhoods.

Foot Traffic Ahead ranked the top metro areas in their social equity index as the following:

The top metro areas in our Social Equity Index are 1) Cleveland, 2) New York, 3) Kansas City, 4) Detroit, 5) Philadelphia, 6) Pittsburgh, 7) Baltimore, 8) Washington, DC.

What this means is there are significant price premiums that remain across the board for walkable urban real estate, including 34% price per square foot price premiums in residential for-sale and  47% rental premiums in office and multifamily rentals.

The report also provides policymakers with recommendations on how to increase both the supply of and access to equitable, walkable urban development while safeguarding affordability and providing benefits such as improving community health, lowering emissions by reducing car use, and advancing equity by bringing access to economic opportunity.

To download a free copy of the report click here: https://smartgrowthamerica.org/resources/foot-traffic-ahead/

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