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GWSB’s Leinberger Releases Data on Walkable Urban Places

Suburban sprawl is out. Walkable cities are in. That’s the upshot of a new, major report on “Walkable Urban Places” or “WalkUPs” released today by GWSB’s Christopher B. Leinberger, Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor of Urban Real Estate.

The report – the subject of a recent Wall Street Journal story and focus of today’s conference co-hosted by the School’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis and the nonprofit Urban Land Institute – offers evidence, based on a study of 43 WalkUPs spanning seven counties in metropolitan Washington, D.C., that these higher-density areas with their multiple transportation options are driving today’s real estate market growth.

“Drivable suburban has long been the dominant approach to real estate development,” wrote Leinberger in the report’s introduction.  “Today, that is reversing; the pendulum is swinging back to walkable urban development.”

Leinberger said demand for drivable suburban development – now overbuilt and a primary cause of the mortgage meltdown that triggered the Great Recession of 2008-09 – is waning. Meanwhile, the pent-up demand for walkable urban development – with its climbing property values and rents – is so strong “that it could take a generation of new construction to satisfy.”

Leinberger ranked Washington’s 43 “regionally significant” WalkUPs  based on two criteria:  economics and social equity.  He said the area is at the vanguard of the national WalkUP trend.

A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based, nonprofit, public policy organization, Leinberger concludes that the public sector and real estate industry should respond to the market and create the kind of WalkUP development that is in demand. However, creating economically successful WalkUPs with high social equity is challenging.

Leinberger is president of LOCUS, a national network of real estate developers and investors who advocate for sustainable, walkable urban development in America’s metropolitan areas. To read his report in its entirety, go here.

Posted by gwsb on September 11, 2012 | Filed under: GWSB News.


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