Creating Tomorrow's Great Cities by Candace Klein

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Creating Tomorrow's Great Cities

- Candace Klein

We all want unique experiences close to home. That is why Cincinnati has seen an in-migration of young professionals and baby boomers back into more urban communities. In fact, CNN reported in 2007 that "young professionals are driving a national trend back toward walkable communities," and in reviewing Forbes' most attractive cities for young professionals, nine of the 12 top-ranking cities had a common theme connecting them - less dependence on vehicles and more pedestrian friendly options. We no longer want to depend on our car.

The same qualities that attract young people to a community also attract the empty nesters. According to the AARP, a livable community for older residents includes elements that help them to maintain independence and quality of life. A pedestrian environment, easy access to grocery stores and shopping, a mix of housing types, and nearby recreation are all important elements that positively affect the daily lives of retirees.

And developers and city officials in Greater Cincinnati have recognized this change. Over the past year, local city officials, developers, architects and residents have been working to update our region's respective zoning codes to, among other things, promote unique "outdoor living room" environments. A tool developed prior to the 1920's, called Form-Based Code, has been utilized in communities nationwide, and locally in Columbus, Louisville, Nashville and Chicago (suburbs), to help reverse sprawl and transform the strip mall and parking lot into a vibrant, mixed-use space built on character and developed by the residents of the neighborhood.

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