Getting downtown vibe: Troy, other communities aim to create walkable, urban areas amid sprawl


Several small cities and towns outside Detroit have turned to walkable development and downtown revitalization to compete with their thriving neighbors, attract upwardly-mobile Millennials, and balance municipal budgets. Success stories like Birmingham and Royal Oak, MI have led the way to an embrace of town planning, Kirk Pinho reports:

In his office, Brian Kischnick pulls out two rolled-up maps of downtown Royal Oak and downtown Birmingham and places them individually over an aerial photo of the 127-acre Troy civic campus. They both fit, with room to spare.

Those are the stakes that Kischnick, Troy’s city manager, and a team of planners have in the back of their minds as they shop around a master plan for the campus that would cost at least $350 million and bring at least 850 residences and hundreds of thousands of square feet of walkable retail space to the city, one of Oakland County’s economic engines — even with no downtown.

Troy is one of several suburban communities thinking like developers, looking at increasingly valuable municipal real estate holdings and viewing them as opportunities to create bustling, walkable urban areas attractive to both millennials and baby boomers, and bring in more city revenue in the process.

For the full story, continue reading at Crain’s Detroit Business.