Detailing DC's Shift to Walkable Urbanism

Walkable urban places are poised to "put a foundation under the economy as well as government tax revenues," concludes Christopher Leinberger in a new report. Better! Cities & Towns delivers some highlights from his much anticipated study.

Last week, we previewed the results of a new study examining the emergence of Washington D.C. as a national model for walkable urbanism. Now published, the findings of the study are astounding.

"In the first regional, comprehensive study of mixed-use urban centers, Christopher Leinberger coins a clever term, WalkUPs (walkable, urban places)," writes Robert Steuteville. "Leinberger examines 43 WalkUPs in the Washington, DC, region, most of which have been created in the last two decades."

"Although they only occupy 1-2 percent of the DC land area, they account for 29 percent of the income-producing property and they generate tax revenues far out of proportion to the land they consume. Since 1990, WalkUPs have steadily gained a larger share of commercial development in the region, and Leinberger, research professor of urban real estate at the George Washington University School of Business, argues DC is a model for how the nation will develop in the coming decades."

Thanks to Rob Steuteville

Full Story: Study: Shift to walkable urban places is good news for economy



Irvin Dawid's picture

Skeptical on "walkable urbanism" - the term, that is

I have the utmost respect for Christopher Leiberger, but I find myself questioning his creation of this term.
Sure, I like it when he differentiates "walkable urbanism" from "drivable suburbanism" as one can illustrate what the two land use forms look like, how they contrast, but as a stand-alone term, I would like to see a clear definition.
I did note these:
• Three factors explain the increased economic performance of WalkUPs: greater walkability, job density, and higher workforce education.

What is the nature of auto-parking in "walkable urbanism"?
I think that would be a key aspect in defining it, but I haven't seen the relationship described.

I think seeing the flaws that developed with the use of the term, "smart growth", it makes sense to be as precise as possible in defining what I'll call "sustainable developments" - another amorphous term - my apologies.
Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Parking in Walkable Urbanism

What is the nature of auto-parking in "walkable urbanism"?

The general principles established by the New Urbanists are:
-- curbside parallel parking.
-- parking behind buildings. Buildings' entrances should face the sidewalk, without parking between the sidewalk and the entrance.
Of course, underground parking also works.

Charles Siegel

WalkUP. Throw up.

but I find myself questioning his creation of this term.

Me too. Seems like a poor attempt at marketing. I realize that if you want your findings to do something other than sit on a shelf in some journal few read, you have to promote them. But come now. The last thing we need is another fad.




Do you like "20-minute neighborhoods" better?

Something along the lines of "vibrant neighborhoods in which 90% of ... residents can easily walk or bicycle to meet all basic daily, non-work needs." (

Seems like an improvement, since it doesn't have the distracting connotations of "walk-up" and is arguably more descriptive.

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