For many years, if you found yourself in the central business district of an American city at 8 p.m. you’d either be surrounded by urban hubbub or … silence. Urban amenities—robust mass transit, rich cultural experiences, walkable neighborhoods and vibrant mixtures of residential, retail and business properties—were exclusive to a small handful of “cities that never sleep” like New York City. But most other cities became virtual ghost towns after 5 p.m.
But not anymore. In the latest edition of Knowledge Leader magazine, we explore a number of former “9–5 cities” like Minneapolis and Austin that are revitalizing their urban cores to become “18-hour cities” with strong representation from the business sector as well as amenities for the after-work crowd.
The term “18-hour city” was coined by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) two years ago in their annual “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” report. Kathleen Carey, president and CEO of the ULI Foundation, suggests that these cities share common features such as walkable downtown areas, interesting retail, effective transit options and affordable housing. They also share an increasingly competitive environment for talent.
Carey points to the fact that the engine of growth for many of these cities is the increasing presence of technology companies and the millennial workers they attract—and vice versa. To sustain their development, cities must continue to offer urban amenities that meet the needs of the next generation in order to retain a talented workforce and successful companies. This applies not only to the current roster of 18-hour cities, but also to the cities that might just have the makings of future hubs for talent, startups and investors.
To see our list of the top ten 18-hour cities, download the Fall 2016 Knowledge Leader magazine.