WalkUPs are most common where they have always
existed to one degree or another — in central cities.
When growth flowed outward to suburbs after World
War II, many walkable central city locations languished.
They didn’t disappear, though, and the revitalization of
central cities has spearheaded the trend toward walkable
But developing walkable urbanism in the suburbs is also
part of the trend. Thanks in large part to growth around
suburban rail stations, Washington, D.C., is the most
balanced metro with 49 percent of its WalkUp space in
the suburbs and 51 percent in the central city, according
to “Foot Traffic Ahead.” Others with notable shares of
suburban WalkUp space include Houston ( 48 percent),
Miami ( 46 percent) and Boston ( 41 percent).
Some metros that rank high in terms of their overall per-
centage of WalkUp space, rank low in their percentage of
WalkUp space in the suburbs — a list that includes Seattle
( 17 percent), San Francisco Bay ( 11 percent), Chicago
(7 percent) and New York ( 6 percent). That dichotomy
presents great upside potential for those metros to urban-
ize their suburbs, according to “Foot Traffic Ahead.”
Besides ranking metros on their current level of walk-
able urbanism, “Foot Traffic Ahead” ranked each metro’s
The revitalization of central cities has spearheaded the trend toward
walkable urban development and urbanism in the suburbs.
development momentum based on WalkUp absorption,
WalkUp rent premiums and upside for suburban urbanization. These rankings indicate how walkable or sprawling
a metro’s future development is likely to be.
New York, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C., are one,
two, four and six in the development momentum rankings.
No surprises there. But who would have thought reeling
Detroit would be number three and sprawling Phoenix
and Los Angeles would be five and seven?
“For decades, these three metros sprawled faster than
most other metros,” writes Leinberger and Rodriguez.
“But since 2010, their development patterns have experienced a fundamental shift from drivable sub-urban to
walkable urban, evidenced by WalkUP market share gains.”
“The pedestrian is an extremely
fragile species, the canary in the
coal mine of urban livability.”
Jeff Speck, urban planner
Courtesy of The Office of TourismOhio Courtesy of The Office of TourismOhio