How walkable communities, like ours, are changing U.S. lifestyles
American sensibilities and lifestyles are changing. One of the psychographic trends being charted by U.S. demographers is urbanization, as increasing numbers of citizens in the United States and most other countries express their desire to reside in a style that allows them to live, work and play in close proximity. In other words, to live within walking distance of these activities, or at least within walking distance of comfortable and dependable mass transportation that gets them to the places they want to go, pronto.
Hence, the rise of walkable real estate developments and neighborhoods. The relevance of this trend to The Rose Hotel is very clear to us. Unlike most hotels that are situated near airports, along freeways or even on beaches, The Rose Hotel sits in a historic, eminently walkable business district surrounded by beautiful residential neighborhoods. Dining, wine bars, shopping, theater, horse racing, car shows, county fairs and many other recreational diversions are all within walking distance.
The trend toward urbanization and walkable communities is certainly not lost on real estate developers either. Those in the business and investors who underwrite their construction plans have made it clear that walkable communities are one of their hot categories. Think in terms of mixed-use developments with housing, retail, office, dining and entertainment venues clustered so they can be accessed on foot. It’s being called the “new urbanism.”
Let’s be clear, however, that walkability is more than simple putting these property types contiguous to one another. It involves strategic design that invites people to set out on foot and gives them a sense of destination along the way. Too often urban neighborhoods have been constructed in a manner that suggests each building is its own separate fortress, walled off from one another and repelling people from making an approach — especially while afoot.
There’s more. Walkable developments and, by extension, walkable cities are more sustainable, reducing the need for automobiles. That translates into less burning of fossil fuels and less air pollution. Many millennials are actually forgoing their driver’s license and purchasing automobiles, choosing instead to live in urban, walkable environments and using mass transit. It’s economical. It’s connected. It’s environmental.
In addition to our youngest generation, senior citizens are also embracing the urbanization trend in a significant way. With the children grown and (hopefully) gone, many older Americans are choosing to downsize by selling their single-family homes and relocating into high-density urban communities to enjoy a more active and convenient lifestyle.
Not only is downtown Pleasanton, Calif., (home to The Rose Hotel) a highly walkable environment, the hotel is just a train ride from San Francisco, which is one of world’s most walkable cities and, not coincidentally, some of world’s most valuable real estate.
Check out the new urbanism next time you visit The Rose Hotel. Take a walk in our neighborhood or in San Francisco with this fresh set of eyes. You will like what you see and feel, and we are always excited about helping direct you in ways that optimize your travel experience.
Written by Mike Consol