Image: Doug Geisler CC 2.0 Lic
Is your neighborhood walkable? Is it walkable enough?
According to some recent articles, walkability is now the single most desirable trait for house hunters in US cities, and it only seems to be getting more desirable.
This shouldn’t be all that surprising. After all, Millennials are now the largest generation in the country, they’re heading into their settling-down years, and they’re famously less interested in driving than previous generations. On top of that, you have millions of aging Boomers looking to downsize, often in places where they won’t have to spend as much time in their cars. This doesn’t have to mean a city–lots of suburbs are getting more pedestrian-friendly–but it does mean distances short enough to make walking a viable alternative to driving.
But it also means infrastructure: sidewalks, shade trees, street-oriented storefronts, and--you guessed it–site furnishings. Installing benches, tables, bollards and bike parking doesn’t automatically make a block a walker’s paradise, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a walkable neighborhood without them. Besides giving you a place to rest your bones after a long stroll, street furniture also sends a powerful message: that people are supposed to be here, that walking is a viable form of transport.
This may be why so many of our site furnishings projects over the last few years have been part of placemaking initiatives. As cities around the country double down on their established neighborhoods, they often look to site furnishings as a way to kick-off the reinvestment process, in a pragmatic and highly visible way. Huntco has been fortunate to be a part of several of them, often with great results: