Abbot Kinney is one of the higher performing districts studied in terms of composite scoring. The district scored especially well in the social and financial categories, but has significant shortcomings in the built environment category due to its relatively low parking ratio, poor transit service, and lack of significant community gathering space.
L.A. Live is a sports and entertainment district adjacent to Staples Center and the Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles. It offers restaurants, clubs, and concert venues, two major hotels, condominiums, offices, and broadcasting facilities, all within a walkable district. Aggressive event programming drives much of the success of the district, implying a need for local community oriented activities to activate the district during “non-event” days.
Bethesda Row is a transit-oriented district in suburban Washington DC. Its balanced mix of uses, transit access, moderate density, high quality design, and walkability all contributed positively to the Environment score; weaknesses included over-accommodation of the automobile and large blocks. Financial scores are good, with home values and commercial rents well above the county average. Weaknesses were a lower average household income, and a slightly higher housing vacancy rate. Social numbers were not as strong; despite good demographics, the amount of networked social interaction was quite low. Recommendations include improving open space and transit linkages, and an aggressive event program would create new ways to successfully reach out to surrounding communities.
Addison Circle is a residential driven mixed use development in the suburbs north of Dallas. The district interestingly integrates multifamily and townhouses within a compact block pattern and varied green spaces, including a major community park. Convenience retail and community services are well integrated into the district. Environmentally, the district scored reasonably well, with negatives being a lack of diversity to the overall mix of land uses and few mobility options. Socially, the area has a wide number of amenities, but levels of social networking are extremely low for the number of residents in close proximity. An increase in the number of events in the area could help improve these numbers. Financials are good, with the district outperforming the county in every metric we studied.
The research establishes a basis for comparison across urban districts. In doing so, it identifies the factors that are key determinants for success across the following categories:
Additionally, the research draws conclusions about performance characteristics and recommends minimum performance standards for urban districts in North America.