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university study ranks cities' walkability; cleveland in top 10

In a recently released report by the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business in conjunction with Smart Growth America, the 30 largest U.S. cities were ranked by how walkable they are. This is key indicator on how cities are shifting from suburban sprawl to urban infill.

“The researchers, including Leinberger, first looked at Walkscore heat maps, focusing on areas that scored high. They then looked at areas with significant regional importance, meaning they have at least 1.4 million square feet of office space and more than 340,000 square feet of retail space. They combined these factors to determine areas they call "walkable urban places" or WalkUPs.”

But the report doesn’t just evaluate the present; it looks ahead.

“Researchers then tried to predict how these areas would grow in the future by looking at trend lines and pricing premiums in rent space, which indicate demand level. For example, demand around train stations in places like Washington, D.C. is so high commercial and residential renters can pay a premium of between 50 and 80 percent, said Emerick Corsi, president of Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises Real Estate Services.

Coming in at No. 10 is Cleveland.

“Ohio's largest city hangs on to the bottom spot in the Top 10, but that may change soon. It's set to plummet to No. 24 in the future. Cleveland is one of a handful of older industrial cities where walkability is largely rooted in the past, where a strong city center is walkable while the rest of the surrounding suburban area lacks any kind of walkable urban space.”

Read the rest here.
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