Introducing "The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Michigan Metros"


Walkable real estate development projects and places are on the rise nationwide. LOCUS has looked at how these trends are playing out in Atlanta, Washington, DC, and Boston. Today, we’re excited to unveil the fourth report in our WalkUP Wake-Up Call series.

The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Michigan Metros looks at development in seven Michigan metropolitan areas: Detroit-Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, Lansing, Jackson, Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Saginaw-Bay City-Midland, and Flint. Our analysis of these areas finds that in the most recent real estate cycle, 22 percent of all new income property development located in the 2.7 percent of land that is walkable urban. This share of new development is up from only 6 percent in the 1990s real estate cycle and 12 percent from the 2001-2008 cycle.


Transit is key to Cincinnati's economic progress

(The following article originally appeared in the Cincinnati Inquirer on November 8, 2013)

By Christopher B. Leinberger

I was the lead consultant, along with Jim McGraw of KMK Consulting, on the Go Cincinnati economic development strategy in 2008. While funded by the private sector under the auspices of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Go Cincinnati became the City Council-adopted economic strategy for the city’s future. The City, along with 3CDC, Port Authority, Museum Center at Union Terminal and others, are already implementing it.

Brookings and KMK found that Cincinnati’s major economic deficiency is the lack of walkable urban places with the housing and jobs required for the 21st century knowledge economy. The city was not playing as large a role in the regional economy since it was not focusing on the development of these high-density, mixed-use walkable urban places. The city is now fulfilling the Go Cincinnati strategy by successfully building walkable urban neighborhoods, such as Fountain Square, Uptown Coalition and Over-the-Rhine. But much more needs to be done.


Real estate developers are joining the call for policy reform

As President of LOCUS—Smart Growth America’s coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors—I’ve spoken with developers and investors from across the country about how federal policies impact the U.S. real estate market.

Time after time, I’ve heard from colleagues that federal involvement in real estate needs to change.

That’s why I’m excited to join Smart Growth America next week to unveil a new platform for federal real estate program reform.


New Jersey isn't capitalizing on demand for walkable places

The following was crossposted from Smart Growth America’s coalition partner, New Jersey Future.

A 2008 survey found that 77 percent of Millennials – the generation of 20-somethings – want to live where they are “close to each other, to services, to places to meet, and to work, and they would rather walk than drive.”

New Jersey, with its extensive rail transit network and “streetcar suburbs” with pedestrian-friendly downtowns that surround many of their stations, is well poised to take advantage of the rise in demand for this walkable urbanism.

The New Divide: Walkable vs. Drivable
New Jersey is an anomaly among the 50 states in that it is highly urbanized yet lacks a major center city to claim as its own. The state’s home-grown urban centers all live in the shadows of their much larger neighbors, New York and Philadelphia. In fact, New Jersey is widely perceived as consisting mainly of suburbs serving these two cities, even if many of its small towns do not fit the low-density, single-use stereotype of a “suburb.” The distinction, however, between city and suburb as the defining paradigm for describing the built environment is giving way to a new dichotomy: walkable urbanism versus drivable sub-urbanism. New Jersey is well positioned to take advantage of this change.