According to the US National Association of Realtors 2013 Community Preference Survey, 60 percent of respondents wanted communities with businesses and recreation that were easily to walk to rather than driving.
Report by Gary Hack, urban design professor at the University of Pennsylvania, notes that many of today’s walkable urban shopping areas are prospering.
• To be successful, walkable retail areas need to cater to diverse needs and reach a critical mass.
• Successful retail areas encourage multi-purpose trips, which mean offering not only unique local shops but also more generic larger-format outlets and services. One successful strategy is to couple street oriented retail with a shopping centre capable of accommodating large grocery, pharmacy, discount and leading brand stores.
• Rents in walkable shopping areas can be 27-54% higher than in non-walkable areas
• Where a shopping area develops a unique identity there can be “place dividend” with the area growing to 3 to 4 times as large as would be expected on walking catchment alone.
• The presence of walkable shopping areas increases nearby housing values. The increments vary and can be as much as 50%, particularly in denser communities.