Walkable Neighborhoods – Historic Districts
There is more and more talk and media reporting about “walkable” neighborhoods and communities. Even within new, distant planned developments you’ll find efforts, in some cases, to try and provide walkable proximity to community amenities beyond windswept neighborhood parks.
There seems to be a growing appreciation for a lifestyle that allows for walking to shopping, restaurants, entertainment, church, community gathering centers such as festival and arts centers, schools and well, your neighbors. This is particularly nice for the kids to have a neighborhood of friends that are not a car ride away. (Can you imagine driving your kid(s) for play dates?)
Yesterday our community held one of several yearly downtown festivals which included a parade. (Beloit’s Lighted Holiday Parade) It’s a big event. Lot’s of people, most of whom drive in, look for parking only to jockey to get out when an event ends. If you live in the historic district… you walk the few block and you’re there. You tend to run into neighbors as they’re enjoying the same convenience. When you’re done… you walk home. How cool is that?
Walk or bike to work?
Now you’re just talking nonsense.
And if you’re lucky your employer is among the downtown businesses. I’ve read any number of accounts of new business centers built out in a distant green field touting their LEED certification. And while the building itself is “green” what typically is not mentioned or taken into account for “Green” valuation is the fact that every single employee now has to drive miles and miles to get there. It lies outside of municipal mass transit grids and bike routes, not to mention walking from any possible residential housing.
Some employers however have already recognized that lifestyles and priorities of their target employees are changing. They’re rediscovering the benefits of a downtown location. How cool would that be to be able to walk or bike to work. I for one, moved from where I was taking the train to where I currently live because in part, it was within biking distance of my employer at the time.
Today, Sears Holdings Corp. and AT&T Inc. are looking to escape their compounds in northwest suburban Hoffman Estates. A shrunken Motorola has space to let in Schaumburg. Sara Lee Corp. eyes downtown office space after less than a decade in Downers Grove. Companies from Groupon Inc. to GE Capital hire thousands in Chicago while their suburban counterparts shed workers. ~Crain’s Chicago Business, May 30, 2011
- IBM’s Adaptive reuse of downtown Dubuque building – What? People actually working AND LIVING in the same community?
- Corporate Campuses in Twilight – Crain’s Chicago Business, May 30, 2011
- Companies Head Back Downtown – FORTUNE, July 14, 2011
- Are the Millennials Driving Downtown Corporate Relocations? – Brookings, June 10, 2011
They (millennials) are voting with their feet for a hip, high-density walkable lifestyle and a reverse commute to the ‘burbs is not in the cards for most of them.
~Brookings, June 10, 2011
George Halvorson – Chairman & CEO, Kaiser Permanente
Rediscovering Walkable Neighborhoods.
People are rediscovering the benefits of traditional, closer-in neighborhoods, closer to center-city amenities. Walkable neighborhoods.
I’ve friends who would never consider walking… anywhere. While living in the city, if valet parking was not available this was a serious consideration. Walking simply was not done. In far flung suburban developments, well there’s just not anything to walk to. That is unless you’re simply out for exercise and not going anywhere in particular.
While a smaller fraction of the home buying public, for a number of reasons there is growing interest in walkable neighborhoods.
A side benefit in addition to lifestyle, “quality of life” considerations… how about it’s simply good for you to do.
Do you live in a “Walkable Neighborhood”? Find out.
So, what do you think? Leave a comment below.