Since the end of World War II, much of U.S. development has been pushed out toward the suburbs, separating land use so much that walkability was all but forgotten, and the only way to get around was to drive everywhere.
Today, walkability and access to green spaces are top selling points for residents. Buyers want neighborhoods that offer innovative land use, access to daily needs, and sustainable design conducive to walking and biking.
These needs are supporting the ongoing move to urban contexts, but any community can benefit from focusing on the following increasingly meaningful strategies that are driving growth in urban areas.
- Increased vertical density and mixed-use diversity to encourage walking and reduce the need for cars
- A mix of housing options to encourage a multi-generational population
- A mix of overall development beyond residential and office so people have access to basic needs within a 10-15 minute walk
- Local gathering places, parks, and plazas
- Community gardens and rooftop gardens
- Transformation of streets to park blocks and pedestrian friendly, human-scaled, hybrid spaces
- A variety of pop-up community events and programs on an ongoing basis to support diverse recreation
- Multi-modality to supports pedestrian, bicycle, and transit use
- Harvesting rainwater, storm water, and condensate for reuse
- Health education to promote wellness and encourage walking and resource sharing
- Green building to avoid the use of hazardous materials
- Natural lighting equity to design workspaces within view of large, operable windows
- Placemaking in architecture to ensure innovative, contextually sensitive building that reflects neighborhood identity
- Communal co-existence with inclusion at its core - spatial inclusion (affordable housing, utilities, and sanitation), social inclusion (expanding equal rights and participation) and economic inclusion (job creation and opportunities for economic development).
- Human-centered design by and for local citizens - to promote mass placemaking in a collaborative process.