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How New Construction is Making Chicago a Pedestrian's Paradise

Sep 14th, 2016

Chicago, long the nation’s third largest city, has never been a particularly difficult place to get around. At least as long as the weather is somewhat decent. According to two separate studies by Redfin, the city grows increasingly walk-friendly by the day. Here’s a look at some of the construction and development trends boosting walk scores throughout the city.

Demand for walkable neighborhoods

Millennials and Baby Boomers, the two generations moving into apartments at the highest rates, are shunning underserved and poorly connected neighborhoods for more walk-friendly ones. According to a Washington Post article written last fall, supply of walk-friendly neighborhoods is struggling to keep up with demand. As a result, most new developments cropping up in Chicago and other major cities are highly walk-friendly.

New construction

Steps are being taken to improve the walkability of existing construction, but the greatest gains in walk-friendly apartments we’re seeing are in newly constructed communities. According to Redfin, 89% of new home construction in Chicago is taking place in areas with a walk score higher than Chicago’s average of 78.

Current statistics and projections

So, the average city walk score for a Chicago home is 78, the second highest in the country. What does this mean? The walk score, a number between 0 and 100, essentially measures how easy it is to get around a neighborhood or city without a car. With nearly 90% of new units going up in Chicago exceeding the city’s average walk score, we should see the average nudge up in the near future.

Most walk-friendly Chicago neighborhoods

The most-walk friendly Chicago neighborhood, earning a walk score of 96, is the near North Side, which is home to the Gold Coast, Streeterville, and River North, home to the downtown Chicago apartments at AMLI River North. Other Chicago neighborhoods with especially high walk scores include The Loop and South Loop, home to the Printers Row apartments at AMLI 900 and AMLI Lofts. Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, and the Ukrainian Village, which all have walk scores of 93 or higher.

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Sources: Redfin’s Walkable New Construction: 10 Cities Leading the Way and The Nation’s Most-Walkable Cities Got Even More Walkable in 2016.

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