Study shows walkable urbanism has positive economic impact

Walkable communities have a higher GDP, greater wealth, and higher percentages of college grads, according to a new study by George Washington University.

With 89% of office and retail space in so-called "WalkUP" areas, New York ranks number two in GW's new study. Photo courtesy Adilla Menayang
June 18, 2014

A city's pedestrian-friendliness impacts its economy, according to a report done by Christopher Leinberger and Patrick Lynch of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business.  

According to the report, walkable communities have a higher GDP, greater wealth and higher percentages of college grads (see table below). Moreover, there is a “74 premium in rent per square foot in office buildings in walkable areas.”

And the report is not only talking about cities. According to Leinberger, the traditional dichotomy of “walkable urban” and “drivable suburban” is falling out of use. Many urban areas are car-oriented and many suburbs are developing into walker-friendly spaces.

Currently, the top five cities based on the percentage of their "WalkUPs" (walkable urban places) from the total metro area and population are Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago.

Click here to read the whole report and learn more.

 

Screenshots from Foot Traffic Ahead report 
© The George Washington University School of Business 2014

         
 

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