A study released in June by Smart Growth America ranks Seattle “top tier” in its review of the country’s top 30 walkable metropolitan areas. Foot Traffic Ahead measures cities’ “walkable urban places” (WalkUPs) and their role in driving the local economy. For example, the top ranking metros have an average of 38% higher GDP per capita as compared to the low ranking metros. Within these metro areas, WalkUPs occupy a relatively small portion of land, possibly as low as 1%. Yet they account for almost half of the office, hotel and rental apartment square footage – important economic drivers.
The report also mentions a unique subset of WalkUP, the “Innovation District,” centered around a specific function, such as a manufacturing area, creative hub or cluster of businesses devoted to research or technology. Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood is considered an Innovation District.
For more information about Seattle’s work on making us the most walkable city in the nation, visit the Pedestrian Master Plan website.