The interactive map is available at aei.org/wod where you will find a Welcome message as well as Tips for Using the Map
Here’s the Welcome message:
Welcome to the AEI Housing Center‘s national map of Walkable-Oriented Development (WOD) areas. Nationally WODs contain about 20% of residential units, 85% of restaurants, bars, cafes, pharmacies, and supermarkets, 70% of hardware stores, and 60% of office space. In the interactive map, WODs are denoted with thick black outlines and a blue tint (the level of opacity is adjustable down to transparent). Each property (each point) within a WOD is within a 10-minute walk of a cluster of 6 or more points of interest.
A cluster consists of at least 6 restaurants/bars, coffee shops, supermarkets/grocery stores, hardware stores, and/or pharmacies/drugstores. Ten-minute walking isochrones (catchment areas of equal time) are calculated for each POI within a cluster. These isochrones are evaluated and processed such that each property (every point) within a WOD is within a 10-minute walk of a cluster of 6 POIs. Each isochrone is based on ground conditions, not “as-the-crow-flies.” Given that there are multiple combinations of such clusters, a WOD may consist of just one such cluster or the combination of two, three, or many, many such clusters. Over 3.2 million POIs are available for display. Over three dozen metrics are also displayed, such as a crime index, home price appreciation, and job counts for over 6 million census blocks. New metrics will be added over time. The data used to construct the WOD interactive map are also available for download.
Modestly increasing residential density in such areas even from a 1- to a 2-unit structure would result in a much-needed and meaningful addition to our housing supply, enhance the vibrancy of commercial areas, and yield a significant boost in property tax revenue.
Since the 1950s the focus of suburban development has largely been on the separation by function: residential commercial and office. This has included a strong bias towards travel by automobile with minimal or no consideration given to walkability, especially to run errands.
These trends combined with overly restrictive zoning and land-use laws have driven up the cost of land and created a severe rental and owner housing shortage. As a result, most additions to the housing supply have consisted of either single-family detached and attached units or multifamily development of 50+ units. AEI Housing Center research has shown that nationally around 20% of existing housing units are already located in both pre-and post-1950 Walkable Oriented Development (WOD) areas – areas within a 10-minute walk of a set of existing commercial amenities. It may also include a transit station.
Modestly increasing residential density in such areas even from a 1- to a 2-unit structure would result in a much-needed and meaningful addition to our housing supply, enhance the vibrancy of commercial areas, and yield a significant boost in property tax revenue. WOD would bring housing closer to service jobs thereby reducing transportation and housing costs while freeing up time for other activities such as recreation and child care.
Nationally, the AEI Housing Center estimates that a focus on WOD has the potential to add 2 million private homes over 10 years to our housing stock while taking advantage of existing developed land and infrastructure at little taxpayer cost.
More Benefits of WODs
WODs are present in nearly every community, including small towns.
WOD relies on existing infrastructure and private action and investment, this requires
minimal public investment and subsidies as contrasted with traditional Transit-Oriented
Development, which requires both.
This yields a tremendous reduction in political profit (rent) seeking.
Small infrastructure improvements can yield big dividends:
Adding sidewalks and walking paths can enhance WODs and commercial vitality.
Offers gradual development, thus limiting unintended consequences and allowing people time to adjust or move.
Housing supply additions are across a broad range of price points, sizes, types, and tenure (owners and renters).
Every added housing unit could free up a housing unit elsewhere.
Virtuous cycle as modest residential density boosts increase urban/suburban vitality and number of Core Points of Amenity. This is good for property values and tax base.
Replaces functionally obsolete homes having low energy efficiency and deferred maintenance.
In many areas of the country, aging housing stock and infrastructure such as sewers are ripe for upgrade. WODs coincide with this cycle.
Opens up areas of opportunity.
While density will increase, the area’s walkability helps offset the increase.
By Edward J. Pinto – Senior Fellow and Director, AEI Housing Center
By Tobias Peter -- Research Fellow and Assistant Director, AEI Housing Center