New Report Reveals How Walkable Urbanism Will Drive Tomorrow’s Real Estate Industry
WASHINGTON – George Washington University’s School of Business (GWSB) Professor Christopher B. Leinberger has released his widely anticipated and game changing report on walkable urban placed and the real estate market: The WalkUP Wake-up Call: The Nation’s Capital as a National Model for Walkable Urban Places.
There is a paradigm shift underway in real estate. This research challenges real estate developers, investors, regulators, managers, academics and citizens to rethink the way we manage the 35 percent of our nation’s wealth that is invested in real estate and infrastructure, the built environment, and Washington, D.C. is the model; standing at the vanguard of this trend.
For decades, real estate practitioners, observers and scholars have looked through an urban-versus-suburban lens. This can be traced to an antiquated system based on U.S. Census data, which serves as the platform for much of the research on the built environment. In stark contrast to the traditional model, this new report takes an in-depth look at Washington, DC as a national pioneer in walkable urban places, to identify where development has and will take place and the economic and social impact it will have.
“This is an important recalibration that affects how most of us live, work and are entertained,” said Chris Leinberger, author of the report, and Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor of Urban Real Estate at GW’s School of Business. Leinberger is also President of LOCUS, Responsible Real Estate Developers and investors, an affiliate of Smart Growth America “To ignore this structural change would be akin to ignoring the impact roads and cars had on the built environment more than a half-century ago.”
This new research defines—for the first time—where most existing Walk UPs are in the metropolitan D.C. region. It shows specific locations, the physical size of the places, the product mix, the transportation options and so forth. The study also ranks performance for these Walk UPs, based on two criteria: economics and social equity.
“If you can not measure, you can not manage,” Leinberger said.
Walkable urban development calls for dramatically different approaches to urban design and planning, regulation, financing and construction. Most importantly, it also requires the introduction of a new industry: place management. This new field develops the strategy and provides the day-to-day management for walkable urban places (referred to in shorthand as Walk UPs), creating a distinctive “could only be here” place in which investors and residents seem willing to invest for the long-term.