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Neighborhood walkability is good for the commercial real estate bottom line

Neighborhood walkability has been a huge asset for commercial landlords during the recovery from the 2008 recession. Moody's and Real Capital Analytics have a cool dataset that lets you break down commercial real estate prices by WalkScore.

You can see that whether it's in suburbs or in central business districts, prices have rebounded from the recession much more strongly in walkable areas than in car-dependent ones:


This may have to do with consumer tastes, but it probably also has to do with the mix of businesses that walkable versus car-oriented places can support. The steady rise of Amazon and other e-commerce outlets has been hard on the kind of retail businesses that are optimized for large parking lots. Bars, restaurants, and homey shops that don't compete directly with Amazon work better in walkable areas.

Whatever the cause, one natural consequence of disproportionately rising prices in walkable areas ought to be the construction of new walkable neighborhoods. The problem is that modern parking regulations often make it impossible for new neighborhoods to have the walking characteristics of older ones.

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