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Atlanta/New (10/3) Study: Effective Walkable Urban Communities Have Huge Economic Impact on Growth and Development of Cities Nationwide

Atlanta/New (10/3) Study: Effective Walkable Urban Communities Have Huge Economic Impact on Growth and Development of Cities Nationwide

U.S. Has Been Sprawling for 100 years:  Urban Development Expert Says “That’s Over”

When/where: Findings will be presented on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 1:30 p.m., at the Atlanta Regional Commission, 40 Courtland St. NE, Atlanta.  (Interviews also available before/after event.)

The results of a new (to be issued Oct. 3) study of Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs) in metro Atlanta that shows that effectively designed walkable urban communities have the potential to significantly impact economic growth and development in the Atlanta region and nationwide.

WalkUPs are communities incorporating residential, commercial and civic development all within walking distance and are a powerful focus for the growth of real estate and wealth-creating employment.

Chris Leinberger, the report’s author and a nationally recognized expert on “walkable urbanism,” sees metro Atlanta as a harbinger for the rest of the country as the region replaces urban sprawl with successful walkable urbanism.  He says this change is as important as the proclaimed 1890s “closing of the American frontier.”  Leinberger has recently completed similar reports for Washington, D.C. and is in discussions with Detroit, Boston and Grand Rapids.  

Why this is important: With a game-changing shift underway in both commercial and residential real estate, walkable urban places will drive tomorrow’s real estate industry and the economy.  What was once a niche market has become the most important.

Action: Public policy must now reflect this new market demand by putting necessary infrastructure and zoning in place.

Experts available for comment:

  • Chris Leinberger, Study Author
  • Dan Reuter, Community Development Division Manager, Atlanta Regional Commission
  • Ellen Dunham-Jones, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jim Durrett, Executive Director, Buckhead Community Improvement District

Visuals/photos available: Examples of three metro Atlanta WalkUP communities.

More info:

  • Despite occupying only 1/200th of metro Atlanta’s land area, established and emerging WalkUPs account for 20 percent of the region’s office, retail and other commercial property.
  • Average rent in WalkUPs is 112 percent higher than drivable suburban real estate.
  • In the current real estate cycle, more than 60 percent of income-producing property in the Atlanta region was developed in WalkUPs.

Leinberger conducted the study over the last few months.  He is a researcher, author and Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor at the George Washington University School of Business.

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