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5 Ways to Bring People Back to Downtown: Examples from O...

5 Ways to Bring People Back to Downtown: Examples from Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida’s downtown is undergoing what you might call a “residential renaissance.” As one of the leaders in this national trend, Orlando is seeing faster growth in its downtown than in its suburbs. Economists suspect thousands of apartment units will be added to Orlando’s urban core over the next four years, with a handful of

Sky House goes up on Magnolia Ave in downtown OrlandoOrlando, Florida’s downtown is undergoing what you might call a “residential renaissance.” As one of the leaders in this national trend, Orlando is seeing faster growth in its downtown than in its suburbs.

Economists suspect thousands of apartment units will be added to Orlando's urban core over the next four years, with a handful of projects already under construction. This is great news for the city, since urban planners consider dense development patterns more economically powerful and more environmentally responsible.

So, how can we encourage people to move to our downtowns? Here are five ways downtown Orlando is attracting new residents:

1. Transit

As we saw in a previous post entitled "How to Revolutionize a City's Transit System: An Orlando, Florida Case Study," new rail and bus projects are transforming the way Central Floridians get around. Living and working close to a transit stop is seen as an asset, making well-connected developments easier to market.

2. Jobs

A major draw for any downtown resident is the close proximity to their place of work. In Orlando, some of these include governmental facilities, schools, sporting venues, and, of course, the Central Business District offices.

3. Vibe

People move to downtowns because they want to experience everything from trendy restaurants to quality people-watching. They want to be close to major venues, museums, and events.

Downtown Orlando apartments and points of interest, map by Alex Lenhoff

4. Convenience

Downtowns generally represent the epicenter of a city, with major highways and transportation hubs making it easy to get just about anywhere. Furthermore, apartments are replacing pre-bust condominiums, allowing a wider audience to live downtown.

5. Value

Usually we think of living downtown as expensive. However, downtowns are looking to diversify their populations by adding affordable housing, workforce housing, and student housing. On top of that, rents in downtown Orlando can rival those in other parts of the region.

Whether to live in or just to visit, what attracts you to an urban environment?

Credits: Images copyright Alex Lenhoff. Data linked to sources.

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Alex Lenhoff is a graduate of the Masters of Planning in Civic Urbanism program at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. His other degrees include anthropology and foreign languages, which provide him with a diverse, human-centered perspective on...

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