Highlights from “Advancing Ohio’s Urban Agenda”

January 25th, 2013

On our journey from Cincinnati to Columbus to Cleveland for the joint ULI/GOPC/LOCUS event series, “Advancing Ohio’s Urban Agenda: Walkable Communities for Globally Competitive Cities,” trends amongst the three cities became apparent as participants engaged in the dialogue about addressing the market demand for walkable development in Ohio. We were able to capture some of these trends in both text and film (yes, videos are coming!) form and would like to share some of the key highlights with you.

Highlights from the Events:

  • Millennials (aka Generation Y) are shifting market demand and cities in Ohio must meet that demand for walkable, urban development in order to remain globally competitive.
  • As more walkable development (approximately 100-500 meters in diameter of mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development) is added to areas, their property values increase and the local market improves.
  • Transportation drives development. If developers build quality products in the right locations with access to urban-friendly transportation systems, they will get a price premium. Seventy percent of ballots across the nation to increase sales tax to fund public transportation have passed.
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Urban Attraction in Ohio

July 9th, 2012

The recent upsurge in demand for rental properties in Columbus’ downtown neighborhoods has gained increasing exposure in news sources. The Columbus Dispatch article “Urban Renewal” notes that, “The urban-living renaissance is real” and that

“more and more people, especially young singles, have come to demand the benefits that only city life can bestow: restaurants, entertainment, parks and workplaces within walking distance; a lively atmosphere; and plenty of other young professionals as neighbors.”

These trends are also apparent in U.S. Census data: between 2000 and 2010, the City of Columbus grew in population by 10.6%.

National trends, cited by the likes of LOCUS President Chris Leinberger and the Urban Land Institute, have suggested that both Baby Boomers and Generation Y are moving back to inner cities to take advantage of the many available amenities and walkable communities. At Greater Ohio Policy Center, we were interested in finding whether these trends held true for Ohio’s eight largest cities.

An upcoming GOPC report will explain the trends for Baby Boomers and Generation Y living in and around Ohio’s major cities. The graphs below present a preview of some of our findings:

Figure 1. The above chart compares the percentage of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1965 for this study) and Generation Y (born between 1981 and 2000 for this study) in the City of Columbus and the surrounding metropolitan area between 1970 and 2010. There was a 6.04% growth of Generation Y in City of Columbus from 2000 to 2010. Source: U.S. Census.

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The Importance of Walkable Neighborhoods

June 1st, 2012

Source: Zillow.com data analysis by Christopher B. Leinberger, Brookings Institution. Originally posted on NYtimes.com.

By John Gardocki, GO Intern

In a New York Times article by Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS,   convenient, walkable places are in demand.  Different cities throughout the U.S. are reaping benefits from making their cities walkable, friendly environments. Leinberger provides many examples of the demand for walkable cities including Columbus, OH, Denver, CO, and Seattle, WA.  Leinberger stresses the integration of developers and investors to work towards walkable communities.

Leinberger uses a tool he calls the walkability ladder, a step by step analysis rating least walkable to most walkable.  This tool can be used to evaluate the strength of the city. As a neighborhood moves up each step of the five-step walkability ladder, the average household income of those who live there increases some $10,000.  Leinberger’s article finds that on average, each step up the walkability ladder adds $9 per square foot to annual office rents, $7 per square foot to retail rents, more than $300 per month to apartment rents and nearly $82 per square foot to home values.

In a study by Brookings Institution, completed by Mariela Alfonzo and Leinberger about the effect walkability has on commercial and residential real estate, many walkable communities are seeing postive changes to property values.  Brookings found:

  1. More walkable places perform better economically
  2. Walkable places benefit from being near other walkable places
  3. Residents of more walkable places have lower transportation costs and higher transit access, but also higher housing costs
  4. Residents of places with poor walkability are generally less affluent and have lower educational attainment than places with good walkability

Walkable communities are especially important to the younger generation.  According to Brookings, young families want the advantages of walkable urban life, but also high-quality suburban schools.  This trend is about the revitalization of center cities and the urbanization of suburbs.
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