The Winning Strategy Behind People-Oriented Cities

Cities that foster social communities through sustainable transportation possess a winning strategy for success in the future. These cities are deemed “People-oriented Cities”.

The structure of a city has evolved over history with the assistance of technology and mechanical advancements. In developing nations, it is common for sprawling cities to emerge where residents are car-dependent because of the large distance between destinations. Families settle on the outskirts of town in suburbs, shopping malls replace commercial streets, and city centers dwindle. These sprawling cities are now taking a back seat to cities that prioritize social interaction and economic productivity.

People-oriented Cities are utilizing mixed-use development to attract new residents, connect neighborhoods, and strengthen communities. These developments contain a mixture of commercial real estate, including retail, office space, apartments, and shops. When residents are exposed to mixed-use developments, it encourages them to settle down in close proximity.

Specifically, millennials are continuing to flock towards these “People-oriented Cities” for social, economic, and environmental benefits. This younger generation is all about trendy coffee shops, hip apartments, and limitless job opportunities. These cities are catering to this generation like no other. The closeness of these cities allows for people to walk or bike everywhere promoting the latest trend of sustainability. The mixed-use development not only benefits consumers because everything they need is in walking distance, but it also benefits small businesses who can provide for this specific market of people who live in these people-oriented cities.  Supporting these small businesses only benefits the local economy in the long run. People love the idea of a short commute to work with their favorite coffee shop on the way. Environmentally, it is a greener way to live with less transportation. Socially, these millennials are living in a close-knit town. Walkability leads to more parks and plazas creating a strong community feel. 

An example of a highly anticipated mixed-use development project is “The Wharf” in Washington DC. The Wharf is a short ride from the historic monuments in DC and will feature an array of attractions, including a rum-distillery, a boardwalk, parks, and a 6,000 capacity concert hall. It will also possess residential, retail, and office space and construction is expected to begin in 2017.


Written by Front Street Interns Aaron Banks and Allie Jones.