Study: Older, smaller buildings perform better for economies in DC, Seattle, San Francisco

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A new study by the National Trust for Historic Preservation finds that neighborhoods with older, smaller buildings make for more vibrant, walkable communities with more businesses, nightlife and culture.

The study to be released Thursday, examined block-by-block data from Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. It found neighborhoods with smaller, older buildings perform better for the local economy than areas with newer, massive buildings stretching an entire block.

Researchers found older buildings become magnets for shops, restaurants and small businesses.

National Trust President Stephanie Meeks says the group hopes developers and city planners will take a second look at the economic potential of smaller buildings and historic neighborhoods.

The study is the start of a larger initiative also examining Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities with less robust real estate markets.