Have We Reached Peak Sprawl?
Several real estate researchers met in Atlanta on Wednesday to announce a milestone nearly as significant, they believe, as when historian Fredrick Jackson Turner declared the closing of America’s frontier after the 1890 census. Metropolitan Atlanta, long a symbol of car-dependent American sprawl, has recently passed a threshold where a majority of its new construction spending is now focused in high-density, "walkable" parts of town.
Since 2009, 60 percent of new office, retail and rental properties in Atlanta have been built in what Christopher Leinberger calls "walkable urban places" - those neighborhoods already blessed by high Walk Scores or on their way there. That new construction has taken place on less than 1 percent of the metropolitan Atlanta region’s land mass, suggesting a shift in real estate patterns from expansion at the city’s edges to denser development within its existing borders.
"This is indicative that we’re seeing the end of sprawl," says Leinberger, a research professor with the George Washington University School of Business, who led the study in conjunction with Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Regional Commission. "It does not say that everything turns off. There will still be new drivable suburban development. It’s just that the majority will be walkable urban, and it will be not just in the redevelopment of our downtowns, but in the urbanization of the suburbs."
As further evidence, he cites the price premium on rent in these walkable places relative to the region’s more car-dependent corridors.
To read more --