Dan Burden from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute writes that young people first seek an interesting place to live, then look for a job. As such, he says downtowns are our futures because the more people drawn to a downtown, the greater its ability to attract jobs – which is the best way to attract young people.
How walkable a community is is also critically important, highlighting the success of Walk Score – a tool for measuring how walkable a neighborhood is. Mr. Burden notes, “demographics and economics have shifted [so that] many jobs of the future are not appearing in big company towns, but in small startups emerging wherever the brightest young minds want to live.” He advises communities begin focusing on their downtowns, and suggest they look at improving their building codes, lessening parking requirements and facilitating projects with a mix of land uses and housing at various price points.