As cities and suburbs are constantly evolving, keeping the customer’s interest is always a priority. These people-oriented designs have helped several big cities bring the local community together. Certain aspects like placing a grocery store within walking distance, proximity to transit, high performing green buildings, green spaces and trees along streets, have helped several businesses create a hub for growth. Take a look at five urban design trends that are revolutionizing the future of our cities!
1. Experience-Led Shopping
To begin with, recent studies have seen how many visitors are beginning to seek more experiences than actual merchandise. Developers are rediscovering the importance of leveraging authenticity and unique architecture as the newer generations are intrigued to experience unique developments. Millennials and Generation Z have become the majority of the shopping demographic, and as they are more prone to share creative displays and photogenic environments, it has allowed other viewers to see that establishment as a destination.
“The key is to control the shopper’s journey and direct the consumer to the proper place, and malls will transition from anchors to attractions,”
-A.T. Kearney, Co-Author of “The Future of Shopping Centers” study.
2. Green Open Spaces
Next, as cities are being dominated by large tall buildings, many seek a neighborhood charm among the concrete jungle. Many seek a place where they can lay under the sun after a long day of shopping or simply want to lounge on the soft grass which may not be found anywhere else in a busy city. In recent years, open-air malls have received amazing feedback as these courtyards and green areas give the city some breathing space amid the concrete.
“Small, strategic interventions offer relief to people who live in cities…we must be careful not to erase nature out of cities, and work on putting nature back in.”
-Jonce Walker, Sustanability Designer in New York City
Significantly, newer urban projects have begun turning into mixed-use developments which have been well accepted among the local community. One appealing aspect of mixed-use developments is their close proximity to new clientele. Along with cultivating both a residential and commercial audience, mixed-use development projects have the power to attract an immense amount of interest and foot traffic compared to stand-alone stores. For the most part, these mixed-use developments are situated in densely-packed areas which are in close proximity to existing amenities such as schools, libraries, and parks. And as many homebuyers have a strong preference for central locations with easy access to city amenities, mixed-use developments create inclusive and attractive communities.
“Realtors aid in improving and revitalizing neighborhoods with smart growth initiatives, helping create walkable, urban centers, which is what more Americans want in their neighborhoods.”
-Chris Polychron, President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR)
4. Meeting Demands with Parking Garages
Moreover, along with the increased traffic surrounding the areas of major developments comes the planning of parking garages. By the year 2050, researchers have estimated a population of 460 million living in the U.S. which translates into an increased number of passenger cars. In 2012 alone, there were approximately 300 million registered cars in the U.S. which were practically half of the world’s passenger cars! Consequently, when an urban project becomes a hub for the neighborhood and city, the demand for parking will likewise increase. But many developers have seen that adequate parking helps increase the value of residential, retail, multifamily, and commercial properties. Several new urban developments have begun implementing public transit hubs near the sites and have put in a lot of research into balancing the ratio of the population to parking spaces.
5. Food Halls
“Where rent is higher in a brick-and-mortar establishment, food halls levy multiple tenants to keep costs down, and communal areas offer a lower overhead for the chef.”
-Trevor Sherman, The Plaza Food Hall Food and Beverage Director
Lastly, everyone is always in search of a good bite to eat while they’re out and about and food halls are the perfect solution when it comes to busy schedules or convenient weekends. Several communities have seen how food halls have provided diners easier access to a growing category of healthier fast-casual dining. Modern food halls have also helped foster convivial dining and the sort of freedom, flexibility and buzzing energy that comes from having so many food operations gathered together. Food halls also allow many chefs to test new concepts with lower operating costs and gives them the freedom to explore their creativity with their new dishes.