Who is sourcing the growing popularity in walkable urban areas and city downtowns?
Chris Leinberger is an industry leader in defining financial models for urban developments and the author of The Option of Urbanism: Investing in a New American Dream. He’s also a baby boomer, which is significant in his answer to the Smart City Radio interview question, “Why is there pent up demand for walkable urbanism?”
“It’s basically being driven by the Gen Xers, and I’m sure the Gen Xers will be happy to hear this, it’s finally not the baby boomers doing something. The Gen Xers were brought up on ‘Friends’, ‘Seinfeld’, and an image of urbanism that was different than their parents and grandparents and they saw walkable urbanism as a very exciting, safe way to live their lives.”
Chris also goes on to explain why real estate in walkable urban areas are so costly:
“There just isn’t enough of this stuff. The market is in front of our ability to produce this. Somewhere between 30-45% of the households want walkable urbanism (with another being 30% are urban agnostic). Most American metropolitan areas have no more than 5-10% supply. So you’ve got this pent up demand and little supply, you get those 40-200% price premiums for ‘walkable urban product’.”
Image source: Haarlem, Netherlands by slabbers.