I recently had the privilege to share my passion for great places at The George Washington University’s TEDxGWU event.
My talk centered on the importance of understanding that great places are not only core to our communities but that making more great places is key to turning around our economy. Highlights from my talk:
1. Great places are in high demand – people and businesses are moving there
According to a Gallup poll for the Knight Foundation and the National Association of Realtors, people are looking for neighborhoods where they can gather together with their friends, feel a part of a community, and walk to shops and schools from home or work.
Nationally, we also see that businesses recognize that their talent pool wants to live in great places. That’s why a company like Zappos is relocating to downtown Las Vegas. The same thing is happening in Detroit where Quicken Loans is investing heavily in the city and moving more than 4,000 workers downtown. These employees are looking for great places with a mix of people and businesses.
2. Great places cost government less
New development costs us less when it is in our existing villages, towns and cities. That is the cost to our municipalities and us the taxpayers. Examples abound across the country about regions that will save billions of dollars on infrastructure costs by encouraging new construction in existing neighborhood centers and regional downtowns.
3. Great places bring in more revenue
Great places also help increase property values for our jurisdictions’ revenue base and support greater business revenue where foot traffic is key.
We all love the great places in our communities, but we also need to recognize the key role of these places in our economic resiliency. We need to invest in creating more great places so people and businesses can access strong economic places in more parts of our nation.