Over-building of drivable suburban development was a major part of the U.S.’s economic slowdown, and changing development strategies to meet shifting market demand will play an equally important role in repairing the national economy, says Chris Leinberger, President of Smart Growth America’s LOCUS.
As a vocal advocate for transit-oriented development (TOD) and walkable urban places, Leinberger sees how new demand for real estate is fundamentally changing the country – and its potential to revitalize economies across the nation.
“We’re in the middle of a structural shift in how we build the built environment in this country. The structural shift that we last had that was of this magnitude was back in the fifties where we shifted from investing in our cities to building the drivable suburban nature of our country,” he says. But now, “the pendulum is coming back to building walkable urban places.”
Leinberger detailed the rise of walkable urban places in the Washington, D.C. metro area in a recent report called “The WalkUP Wake Up Call,” which emphasized the economic potential of these places. “What you see created throughout the country as these walkable urban places get created is an upward spiral of value creation,” he says, whereby walkable development sets into motion a chain of events that ultimately enables neighborhoods to thrive.