top of mind
No Parking, No Problem
Transit-oriented developments are reflecting the preferences of today’s
younger professionals. Learn what leading-edge developers are thinking.
Millennials are driving today’s transformation of major urban centers, according to a fall 2014 Cushman & Wakefield
report. Many are opting to ditch cars
as long as they can live within walking
distance of amenity-rich areas and easily
catch transit when they’re looking to venture beyond their neighborhood hub. In
just six years, C&W reports, they’ll make
up more than half of the global workforce.
This expanding cohort of workers born
since 1982 is likely to turbocharge another phenomenon with important ramifications for commercial practitioners:
the demand for so-called transit-oriented
These mixed-use areas in cities and
suburbs are located a half-mile or less
from public transportation and typically
occur in higher-density communities.
Along with improving access to jobs,
such developments spur other benefits,
However, like the millennials them-
selves, TODs have matured since they
first emerged. In some cases, neigh-
borhood activists are pushing for TODs.
And where they’re not on consumers’
radar, developers are fine-tuning their
strategies to seek meaningful commu-
nity involvement. Smart developers
understand they need to offer more than
just proximity to transit. Their projects
need to reflect the changing lifestyles of
younger consumers who are more likely
to be tethered to their electronic gadgets
than to a vehicle—a reality that lenders
are starting to grasp as well.
Since the late 1990s, TOD has been
a force in the development world, says
David Dixon, an urban planner at Stantec
in Boston. The Great Recession, however,
changed TOD’s trajectory.
“Transit’s ability to really incent
development—and a different kind of
development, of walkable communities—
first became recognized in the late 1990s
and early 2000s,” he explains. “But
coming out of the recession there’s been
so much more awareness of the power
of cities to attract people, the interest in
walkable environments, and the desire to
not have a car. ”
Data has begun emerging showing
that TOD improves property values. A
2009 study by CEOs for Cities found
that in 13 of the 15 markets analyzed,
increased walkability in a neighborhood
was directly linked to higher home values.
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