According to Foot Traffic Ahead, a recent report from the George Washington University School of Business, “for perhaps the first time in 60 years, walkable urban places (WalkUPs) in all 30 of the largest metros are gaining market share over their drivable suburban competition—and showing substantially higher rental premiums.” The study also concluded there exists a 49 percent GDP per capita “premium” in the most highly walkable urban metros over the least walkable urban metros. The report references another study which showed that walkability acts as a magnet for college-educated people.
As we’ve seen in the transformation of the Pike District, the U.S. is undergoing a significant shift in growth patterns, fundamentally changing from a drive-able to a a walkable society. While the report doesn’t mention White Flint, it does mention Tysons Corner as an example of “Redeveloped Drivable Sub-urban: Places originally developed as strip commercial and/or regional malls that have since urbanized.”
The report notes that metro second ranked Washington, DC’s WalkUP square footage is more balanced between its central city (53 percent) and suburbs (47 percent) than first ranked New York City.
Walkable urban development, as defined in the report, includes: • Substantially higher densities (1.0 to 40 FAR, though mostly in the 1.0 to 4.0 range) • Mixed-use real-estate products, or the adjacent spatial mix of products • Emerging “new” product types, such as rental apartments over a ground-floor grocery store • Multiple transportation options, such as bus, rail, bicycle, and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, as well as motor vehicles, that connect to the greater metro area. Within the boundaries of the WalkUP itself, most destinations are within walking distance.
How wonderful that the Pike District/White Flint area is on the leading edge of a significant societal shift.