The Case for Walkability as an Economic Development ToolPosted: January 4, 2013
By Kaid Benfield
Published: January 4, 2013
A terrific street redesign is assisting economic development in a southern California community that has suffered from changing economic conditions but is nevertheless seeing significant population growth. This is a story of municipal foresight, excellent recent planning, and green ambition.
Lancaster is a fast-growing city of a little over 150,000 in far northern Los Angeles County, about 70 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Its population has more than tripled since 1980; it increased by nearly a third from 2000 to 2010. It is racially mixed (38 percent Latino, 34 percent white, 20 percent African-American) and, like so many fast-growing western cities, decidedly sprawling. The satellite view on Google Earth reveals a patchwork pattern of leapfrog development, carved out of the desert. It is a city with a very suburban character.