Christopher Leinberger writes in the New York Times about a study he just completed for the Brookings Institute that looked at the correlation between walkability and property values. The study, Walk This Way, looked at Washington DC in particular, but Leinberger says its lessons apply across the country.
People are clearly willing to pay more for homes that allow them to walk rather than drive. Biking is part of the picture, too. Biking and walking are part of a “complete streets” strategy that public rights of way should be for all of society — not just cars.
It's not just about the walkscore, there are other factors, according to the report:
Emerging evidence points to a preference for mixed use, compact, amenity-rich, transit-accessible neighborhoods or walkable places.
More in the New York Times.
By coincidence, the same Sunday New York Times edition had an obituary for Everett Ortner, " an early leader in the movement to restore the splendor of 19th-century Brooklyn brownstones after so many had been carved into rooming houses." The Times notes that fifty years ago it was impossible to get a loan for a house in Park Slope, which was "redlined".
In 1974, Mr. Ortner organized the first “Back to the City” conference at the Waldorf-Astoria, bringing together more than 250 representatives from 82 cities to promote the revitalization of brownstone neighborhoods, where many homes now sell for millions of dollars. The organization, which he led until 1983, sponsored 12 other annual conferences in cities across the country.
I was in Park Slope for the first time last week, and was just amazed at how green, how beautiful, how expensive it was; the streets were full of movie stars yelling at their kids. Ortner bought his brownstone for $32,500. Leinberger's study confirms what you can see in cities across North America: people like walkability, old buildings, a reasonable density, what I call Heritage Urbanism.