Metropolitan development patterns are often categorized as central city versus the suburbs, but “Foot
Traffic Ahead” bases its analysis on whether a place is
a WalkUP — short for walkable urban place — versus
a drivable sub-urban place — a.k.a. sprawling suburban development — since each type of development
can occur in a central city or the suburbs.
A WalkUP is a regionally significant location — like
the Midtown District within the central city of Atlanta
or Reston Town Center in the suburbs outside Washington, D.C. — that has 1.4 million square feet of
office space and/or 340,000 square feet of retail space
along with a WalkScore greater than 70 at the most
There are 619 such places in the nation’s 30 largest
metropolitan areas. The New York metro has the most
WalkUPs — 67 — followed by the San Francisco Bay
( 56), Boston ( 54), Los Angeles ( 53), Washington, D.C.
( 44) and Chicago ( 38).
The New York metro also has the greatest concen-
tration of occupied retail/office/multi-family space
in WalkUPs versus drivable sub-urban locations —
38 percent. Next comes Washington, D.C. ( 33 per-
cent), Boston ( 32 percent), Chicago ( 30 percent), San
Francisco Bay ( 25 percent) and Seattle ( 22 percent).
Taken at face value those percentages are a bit, well,
meh. Despite gaining market share, WalkUPs still
account for far less than half of the occupied retail/
office/multi-family rental space even in dense metros like New York, Washington, D.C., and Boston. In
sprawling metros like Orlando, Phoenix and San Antonio, they account for as little as 3 percent.
The thing to remember, though, is that WalkUPs have
a lot of catching up to do given that drivable sub-urban
development was the dominant pattern for more than
five decades and that many people still prefer it.
“We’ve spent 50 years building up places and infrastructure around the automobile and it may take a few
decades for that to get back to (having) more walkable
places,” said Mark Hinshaw, an architect and urban
planner based in Seattle. “It’s a bit of a hyperbolic statement to say this is the end of an era.”
“Walkability is a word that did not exist just 20 years ago.
We made walking so unnatural that we had to invent
a word to describe what we were missing.”
Dan Burden, co-founder Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
Courtesy of Arkansas Parks and Tourism Courtesy of Arkansas Parks and Tourism