Business Trends

Downtowns Revive as Live-Work Centers, by International Downtown Association

File Type: Free Content, Article
Release Date: October 2013
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K Street, Washington, D.C.

America’s downtowns are enjoying a revival as more people chose to work and live in or near these thriving urban centers, according to a new report by the International Downtown Association (IDA). The report, titled “Downtown Rebirth: Documenting the Live-Work Dynamic in 21st Century U.S. Cities,” reveals that the nation’s 150 largest cities account for nearly one-third of all wage and salaried jobs — almost 38.9 million jobs — in the country.

“Until the first decade of this century, there was no systemic effort to quantify the magnitude of the downtown live-work renaissance, in part because the dominant urban narrative for so long had been the story of decline,” said IDA CEO and President David Downey. “This report illustrates the resiliency and attraction of downtowns across the country, which have become the epicenters for entrepreneurial talent, capital, and residential growth.”

The report — which uses a relatively new data-merging and mapping effort to demonstrate that 28 major urban employment centers have achieved densities of more than 100 jobs per acre, and another 24 have between 75 and 99 jobs per acre — should help city leaders continue to lead the revitalization of downtowns. “Thriving downtowns, town centers and anchor institution districts have become major engines for creativity, innovative industries and future job creation for the broader regional economies,” said Paul R. Levy, founding chief executive of Philadelphia’s Center City District, which authored the report for the IDA.