January 2019 - Starting in the mid- 1990s in places like Uptown Dallas and Sundance Square in Downtown Ft. Worth, the market began to move back toward demanding walkable urban development once again. This report presents evidence of the surprising re-emergence of walkable urban places in metropolitan Dallas-Ft. Worth. Walkable urban development represents not only a rapidly growing market share of new development in the metro area today but, if metro DFW follows the lead of comparable metros, such as metropolitan Atlanta and Washington, DC, it will become the dominant form of new real estate development in the early and mid-21st century.
December 2018 - This study creates a “Smart Growth Potential” filter for investors to identify which Opportunity Zones should be prioritized for investment from a triple-bottom-line perspective that can deliver positive economic, environmental, and social returns. Additionally, this study is intended to provide local policymakers and community groups with a policy framework to manage and ensure equitable, inclusive development in Opportunity Zones.
May 2018 - This paper takes an in-depth look at six case studies to describe the process of catalytic development, a new model of investment that over the past decade has had remarkable success in creating such walkable communities. Catalytic development focuses on areas abandoned as a result of deindustrialization and auto-oriented development, in some cases recycling the very properties cleared or left vacant by mid-20th century urban “renewal” programs. Catalytic development incorporates many urban design best practices—granularity, incrementalism, and mixing of uses, scales, and people—and can address difficult urban challenges while delivering long-term economic returns to both the public and private sectors.
December 2017 - The George Washington University, in conjunction with peer-review professors at Wayne State, Michigan State University, and The University of Michigan, conducted an economic and fiscal impact study of Rock Ventures and the Family of Companies (RVFOC) on the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit.
September 2017 - Measurement is a powerful tool that provides a deeper understanding of existing conditions and proposed changes. Communities who measure their economic and social equity performance are better equipped to manage gentrification and prevent displacement. The social equity scan described in this report includes an evaluation of the current and future social equity conditions of Union Square, and creates a social equity score utilizing performance metrics – transit accessibility, non-car commuting accessibility, job density, location affordability and housing cost burden. The report findings will aid the City of Somerville and Union Square stakeholders in determining to what extent the Union Square Neighborhood Plan and the Somerville Union Square Strategic and Community Benefits Plan, if implemented, will result in improved economic and social equity performance of Union Square.
April 2017 - Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America's Largest Metros. In April we released our WalkUp Wake-Up Call: Metro New York, our walkability study of America’s largest metropolitan region. We partnered with the Regional Plan Association (RPA) on this study, and the RPA is planning to use many of the study’s findings as they present its Fourth Regional Plan later this year. This study – which follows reports for the DC, Atlanta, Boston and Detroit metro areas – was the first whereby CREUA not only evaluated the economic impact of walkable urban communities but also its social equity implications. The study was released in three separate venues throughout the New York area – Manhattan, Long Island and Northern New Jersey.
October 2016 - The report explores the feasibility and benefits of creating a managed park plaza space at the Bethesda Metro Station in Montgomery County, MD. We explore detailed case studies of the costs and benefits of several comparable park projects including Dilworth Park in Philadelphia, PA; Director Park in Portland, OR; and Fountain Square in Cincinnati, OH.
Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America's Largest Metros. The end of sprawl is in sight. The nation’s largest metropolitan areas are focusing on building walkable urban development. 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 sub-urban competition—and showing substantially higher rental premiums. This research shows that metros with the highest levels of walkable urbanism are also the most educated and wealthy (as measured by GDP per capita)—and, surprisingly, the most socially equitable.
April 2016 - The City of Somerville is on the brink of transformation. From 2012 to 2016, the community has embarked upon major revitalization plan, developed a citywide comprehensive plan, and engaged in a neighborhood planning process that will create over 3-million square feet of new development opportunities in Union Square and Boynton Yards. Development of this scale presents a common dilemma for communities like Somerville who seek to preserve their local character and maintain affordability for their local residents and businesses.
2016 - For this 2016 update, we have refined and expanded the WalkUPs identified from the 2012 GWU WalkUP Wake-Up Call: DC report to increase the accuracy and rigor of our analysis. Walkable urban land is tremendously scarce in the DC metro area, but it has high pent-up
demand. WalkUPs and walkable neighborhoods combined are only 1.8 percent of the region’s area, but they face tremendous development pressure for all real estate product types except industrial. This scarcity has profound economic and social consequences.
This research focuses on seven metropolitan areas in Michigan: Detroit/Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids/Muskegon/Holland, Lansing, Jackson, Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Saginaw/Bay City/Midland and Flint.
May 2015 - Metropolitan Boston is leading the country toward a walkable urban future. For decades, real estate practitioners, observers and scholars studying land use have looked through an urban-versus-suburban lens. It is not unlike the classic social science joke about the tipsy guest who drops his keys at the front door as he leaves a party. While searching under a streetlight at the curb, he is asked, “Why aren’t you looking where you lost the keys?” He replies, “This is where the light is.” This new research defines—in an entirely new way—the form and function of all land use in Metropolitan Boston’s 3,119 square miles. This study then ranks performance for all land in the region based on two criteria: economics and social equity. The economic performance metric measures both the real estate valuations, as a proxy for GDP (a GDP measure does not exist below the metropolitan level) and the tax assessment that drives most local government tax revenues. The social equity performance metric measures access to economic opportunity and affordability in terms of both housing and transportation costs.
Hundreds of companies across the United States are moving to and investing in walkable downtown locations. This study examines the characteristics, motives and preferences of companies that have either relocated, opened new offices or expanded in walkable downtowns between 2010 and 2015.
Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America's Largest Metros. Walkable real estate development projects and places are on the rise nationwide, but certain metro regions are progressing faster than others, according to a new report released today by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business in conjunction with LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, a program of Smart Growth America. The report, Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros, ranks the country’s top 30 metropolitan areas based on the amount of commercial development in Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs). The study finds higher education levels and one-third higher GDP per capita in high-ranking cities. Additionally, a series of forward-looking metrics examine the future development patterns in these metro areas to predict how walkable or how sprawling their future development is likely to be.
October 2012 - The Poster Child of Sprawl Builds a Walkable Urban Future. Urban development in the second half of the 20th century gave rise to the sprawling geographies, connected by vast highway systems, that now characterize most U.S. metropolitan areas. Few metro areas are more sprawling than Atlanta, but things are changing quickly. Leinberger and Austin’s research has found a surprising and overwhelming recent reemergence of walkable urban development in metro Atlanta; in fact, it now accounts for the majority of the metro area’s development. In this report, the authors identify and rank Atlanta’s established and up-and-coming WalkUPs on their economic performance and social equity. Their insights will help developers, real estate professionals, and urban planners determine the most productive places to invest capital and the initiatives most likely to stimulate walkable urban development.
September 2012 - The Nation’s Capital As a National Model for Walkable Urban Places. The next real estate cycle will be defined by the rise of Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs) and the fall of sprawl development. Metropolitan Washington, D.C., leads the nation in this trend. In this report, Christopher Leinberger defines D.C. metro’s WalkUPs, ranks their economic performance and social equity, and discusses findings and implications for developers and society as a whole.
September 2012 - The findings of this study offer useful insights for a diverse set of interests. Lenders, for example, should find cause to integrate walkability into their underwriting standards. Developers and investors should consider walkability when assessing prospects for the region and acquiring property. Local and regional planning agencies should incorporate assessments of walkability into their strategic economic development plans and eliminate barriers to walkable development. Finally, private foundations and government agencies that provide funding to further sustainability practices should consider walkability (especially as it relates to social equity) when allocating funds and incorporate such measures into their accountability standards.