Millennials Seek Downtown Living, Planners Respond

Recent studies show that upwards of 77% of Millennials are opting to live in urban areas. The impact on the local economy will be huge, IF urban planners rethink how we build our downtowns.

It's no surprise that driving less and walking more can have significant benefits to the environment and our health. Less commonly discussed, however, is the implications to our local economy. Author Amanda Maher reflects on a presentation by Jeff Speck, author of "The Walkable City" and discusses why cities should be rethinking their downtowns. There are four keys to getting residents walking more: (1) having a reason to walk; (2) feeling safe to walk; (3) having a comfortable walk; and (4) enjoying an interesting walk.

When city planners focus on these four areas, cities reap the economic, health and environmental benefits.

It's not easy to create a walkable downtown. The author explains, "It often takes a while to create the momentum for downtown investment, but the downtown is the one neighborhood that belongs to the entire city. The city's reputation hinges on its ability to attract people and businesses to these downtown areas."

Full Story: Designing Walkable Downtowns Help Cities Reap Real Benefits

Comments

Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Another 'walkable' piece misses the key issue

I have yet to read Jeff Speck's "The Walkable City", but from reading Amanda Maher's summary of his presentation, it's doubtful I will. IMO, the key issue in walkability is parkability - make parking free, accessible and convenient and don't expect to see much walking. And the opposite holds true - charge a fee, make it less easily accessible and convenient, expect to see more on foot. Maher only makes one parking observation: "Parking lots should be designed to go in the middle of blocks and behind buildings. " That's it!

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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