Most walkable city? Atlanta cracks top ten

Is metro Atlanta the poster child for spawl or a star in walkability and live-work-play urban centers?

Well, it’s both, Christopher Leinberger said Tuesday. Leinberger is a research professor and land-use expert at George Washington University who helped birth the idea of Atlanta as “Sprawlanta” 20 years ago.

Today, as the university’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis released a report about best U.S. cities for walkable urbanism, Leinberger said Sprawlanta is not what it used to be. Though it is still spread out, a majority of recent development of office and retail space that also drew new residents took place in walkable urban centers located from Buckhead and Decatur to downtown Marietta and Sandy Springs.

“They have turned on a dime,” Leinberger said of metro Atlanta’s growth pattern during a university-sponsored press conference.

The report puts metro Atlanta at number 8 among 30 major U.S. cities. It’s star is rising on the list of most walkable cities because that type growth that puts things such as grocery stores, restaurants and offices within a safe strolling distance of growing shares of the population.

The study’s ultimate walkable cities

1. Washington

2. New York

3. Boston

4. San Francisco

5. Chicago

6. Seattle

Tier two; moderate walkable urbanism

7. Portland

8. Atlanta

9. Pittsburgh

10. Cleveland

11. Baltimore

12. Minneapolis

Tell us where the communities are that you think belong in metro Atlanta’s list of best places and why they belong.

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