Prospects for walkable, mixed-income neighborhoods: Insights from U.S. developers

Emily Talen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In the U. S. today, there is a significant danger that walkable communities are becoming unaffordable to low and even moderate-income residents. This paper reports on the results of a survey of affordable housing developers that was conducted to provide a better understanding of what kinds of strategies could be used to substantially increase the prevalence of walkable, mixed-income neighborhoods from the point of view of developers. Thirty-four developers from around the U. S. were interviewed by telephone in November and December, 2010. Five themes emerged from the survey: the need for financing and access to capital and subsidy; the need for reform of financial regulation; the need for reform of land use regulation; the need for incentives; and the need for better communication and networking. Responses to the survey underscored the frustrations affordable housing developers are having with development more generally, and how those frustrations are amplified when trying to locate affordable housing in walkable, mixed-income neighborhoods. The paper concludes by suggesting strategies that could be employed to help promote walkable, mixed-income neighborhoods, beyond the obvious need for better access to capital: support for research that focuses on the benefits of mixed-income neighborhoods; documentation and illumination of best practices; and the fostering of communication and partnerships among a diverse set of advocates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-94
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Affordable housing
  • Mixed-income housing
  • Walkability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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