The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: New York


New York is the most pedestrian-friendly city in the country. Yet for all its reputation as a walker’s paradise, just 2.4 percent of the total regional land mass in New York is considered “walkable urban.”

That 2.4 percent is small but mighty: it is home to 42 percent of the population, 31 percent of regional real estate square footage, 53 percent of the region’s $6 trillion in real estate market value, and 56 percent of the gross regional product.

It is also in incredibly high demand, commanding valuation premiums 2.5 times higher than drivable sub-urban areas.

This is all according to The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: New York, released today by the George Washington University School of Business’s Center for Real Estate & Urban Analysis. Smart Growth America is proud to be the policy partner on the new report.

Despite the demand for walkable urban places in New York, most real estate investment has been in the region’s core rather than in creating new walkable urban places or growing the region’s rail-served town centers. This represents a lost economic opportunity, and presents a real danger of a substantial affordable housing crisis if efforts to balance the region are not taken. Download the report to learn more.

These findings come at a time when Washington is considering massive cuts to federal programs that help build walkable urban places. President Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint would slash funding for programs like CDBG and HOME which help create walkable places and keep them affordable for people of all income levels.

If you support affordable, walkable urban places, take action: Tell Congress to reject disinvestment in communities.

In the next few months Congress could consider a massive infrastructure package as well as tax reform, and both those things would have implications for walkable urban places. These places are economically valuable and in high demand, and America’s investments should reflect that. Send a letter to your members of Congress today to reject community disinvestment.

P.S.—We’ll be talking about walkable urban development in more depth during the 2017 LOCUS Leadership Summit in Washington, DC later this month. Register to join us there.

Advocacy LOCUS