Understanding impacts of pedestrian-friendly streets in urban retail areas

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Prokai, F. Thomas
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University of Guelph
Abstract

The purpose of this study is to provide an understanding of the impacts on retail areas from pedestrian friendly streetscape improvements. Indicators were determined to examine the impact of streetscape changes on two sites in the City of Toronto. Vacancy rates were shown to decrease in both case study sites. No conclusions could be drawn from pedestrian counts due to limited data. Property values were shown to generally increase where streetscape improvements were done. Urban retail streets that have a more pedestrian friendly streetscape tend to attract a higher quality retail mix. The study results supports pedestrian friendly design of streetscapes as a means of improving the economic vitality of urban retail areas. The results also suggest the potential impact of design improvements on the socio-cultural characteristics of streets and surrounding communities. Recommendations with respect to a data collection model conclude the study.

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Keywords
urban retail areas, pedestrian-friendly streets, impacts, Toronto, Ontario, retail mix
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