Kinder Institute for Urban Research Lecture: "Houston's State of Place" by Mariela Alfonzo
Alfonzo's presentation will describe how State of Place, an urban data analytics platform, helps both public and private entities understand how to make economic investments in walkability that will pay off in the marketplace. Walkability is increasingly tied to both emerging market preferences and business success. Some 80 percent of millenials want to live in walkable places, and in 2011, 58 percent of venture capital in the Top 5 U.S. markets went to firms located in walkable areas.
Yet walkability seems out of reach in many American cities — especially Houston. Two key barriers account for this difficulty. First, stakeholders often lack mechanisms by which to identify the most effective interventions or investments, especially in light of fiscal constraints. Second, and perhaps more pressing, stakeholders find it difficult to communicate and justify the benefits — especially economic benefits — of walkability.
Alfonzo's presentation, held in the Hudspeth Auditorium, will show how data-driven storytelling can pave the road for people-first urban design, even in face of auto-dominated landscapes like Houston.