- July 1, 2013: Vol. 25, Number 7

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Walk this way: Research indicates that investing in

by by Jeffrey Bean, Jacques Gordon, MeLena Hessel and Dan Mahoney


After World War II, the automobile dictated the shape of suburban development in U.S. metropolitan areas. Our strong reliance on cars shaped cities and buildings throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and well into the 1980s and 1990s, running counter to leading urbanists’ views of the virtues of pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and development. Why did this occur? There are many reasons:

•                  The economics of auto-centric development were more compelling.

•                  Local zoning ordinances were based on the assumption that segregated land uses maximized land values and municipal property taxes.

•                  Land assembly costs were much lower on the periphery of urban areas.

•                  Government infrastructure spending focused on the interstate highway system and county/state-funded feeder routes for autos.


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