Urban Imprint introduces State of Place™!
A place rating & walkability diagnostic tool, State of Place™ informs economic development, guides investment, aids place branding and enhances communities.
The Power of Place…And the Ensuing Challenge
The power of place is now palpable – “place” has become a commodity. Places are being sold, branded, advertised, consumed. Their “sellers” are competing for resources – educated residents, businesses, “talent,” and investment — worldwide. Place managers, planning agencies, investors, funders, businesses, and developers lack effective, cost efficient methods that demystify the process of identifying, differentiating, and creating the quality places people want. And today, that’s increasingly places that allow them to conveniently, safely, and pleasurably walk to everyday needs and amenities.
At a time when place quality is no longer an intangible luxury but a critical factor in ensuring place prosperity, place “sellers” must address “customer” - individuals and businesses – demand or risk losing both investment and human capital.
The Solution: State of Place™
In the past, designing the built environment was generally considered to be more of an “art” than a “science.” But State of Place™ has now not only quantified walkability – a critical component of what customers are increasingly demanding of places — but also its economic impact. Providing both a rating and a diagnosis, State of Place™ is an empirically-based tool that makes it easier and more cost effective to identify quality places and make them better – from a triple bottom line (people, planet, and profit) perspective.
What is the “bottom line” of State of Place™?
For increasingly cash-strapped and budget-constrained municipalities, businesses, and organizations, it is imperative to get the most “bang for your buck.” State of Place™ highlights the most cost-efficient, effective way to 1) improve a neighborhood’s walkability – based on its assets and existing conditions – and 2) enhance economic development. The State of Place™ index gives stakeholders the power to identify the highest impact leverage points to improve a place’s triple bottom line!
How does State of Place™ work?
The State of Place™ index quantifies walkability based on ten urban design principles (sub-indices) empirically linked to walking. The sub-indices take into account 165+ on-the-ground built environment features such as street trees, sidewalks, benches, vehicle lanes, crosswalks, outdoor dining, etc.
The State of Place™ index is positively linked to significant economic premiums, including office and retail rents, retail revenues, and residential for-sale and rental values as revealed in a recent Brookings Institution study, “Walk this Way.”
Why use State of Place™?
Place Rating: Based on a neighborhood’s overall score, State of Place™ categorizes it into one of five walkability levels. Tied to economic performance, State of Place™ serves as a “credit” rating for neighborhoods, whereby investors and lenders can make more informed decisions that correspond to their risk levels and underwriting standards. The State of Place™ Index can also serve as a branding and place differentiation tool.
Place Diagnoses: The State of Place™ index not only measures how walkable a neighborhood is (its rating), it also identifies why it is or is not walkable (its diagnosis) based a neighborhood’s scores along the sub-indices. Planning agencies, advocacy groups, and place managers can create a customized plan to enhance walkability and place quality.
Economic Development: But what makes State of Place™ particularly unique is the ability it lends its users to not only tailor their investment strategies, but also maximize the value of their investment dollars. Each urban design sub-index that makes up the State of Place™ index has a varying impact on the bottom line — that is, each is individually tied to specific price premiums. So customers can prioritize investments based on their State of Place™ diagnosis (a place’s urban design strengths and weaknesses) and the predicted impact of allocating resources toward a specific set of urban design interventions. Click here for an example of how this can work for your community!