Master-Planned Mixed-Use in Central Ohio

While the goal of these walkable communities is to attract young urban professionals, the benefits, of course, extend beyond that.

"Look at Columbus' own German Village, where century-old brick houses sit next to restaurants and stores, said Ken Meter, who heads the Minneapolis-based Crossroads Resource Center, which focuses on building strong local economies.

Residents frequent those businesses, keeping dollars in the neighborhood. That helps sustain not only the businesses but also the value of the homes around them, Meter said.

Traditional strip centers cater to neighborhoods, too, but they are auto-oriented, said Jennifer Evans-Cowley, a professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State University. 'If you're a pedestrian, it's not a safe route.'

Columbus ranks 27th for walkability among the country's 40 largest cities, according to Walk Score. That's a Web site, www.walkscore.com, where you can plug in your address and gauge how car-dependent your neighborhood is, based on your home's proximity to stores, restaurants, libraries, schools and parks."

Full Story: Home is where the businesses are

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