Today, people increasingly expect the areas in which they live and work – urban as well as suburban – to be “walkable.” As a result, corporate real estate executives will need to factor walkable locales into the site location decision-making process, according to new research from CoreNet Global.

Many cities in Europe as well as in Asia, grew in a manner that encouraged mobility via mechanisms other than a car.

However, in many countries, including the United States, it is only in recent years that these concepts are taking firmer root. This is beginning to change, and the paper examines three ways in which this evolution will impact cities: changing demographics, corporate location strategy and sustainable cities.

Younger generations want to live and work in areas where amenities are more easily accessible and the trend is already driving where companies are locating their offices.

Leading this trend are companies including GE, McDonalds, and Motorola. GE is making the move from small-town Connecticut to downtown Boston, while McDonalds and Motorola are moving to downtown Chicago. Plano, Texas attracted Toyota to relocate its headquarters from California with its new “urban-village.” The village will incorporate a hotel, a food-hall and residential housing, and other walkable offerings. Other companies moving there include JP Morgan Chase, Liberty Mutual and FedEx.

Walkability also allows cities to have a higher population density, reducing the built area needed to keep the city running, thus reducing the resources needed and the waste and pollution generated.

An increased emphasis on health and wellbeing amongst the younger and urban populations means more people want to be able to walk or bike for the health benefits.

Corporate real estate professionals will benefit from greater understanding of this mega-trend – growing urbanization – and how it will influence and shape location strategy, talent attraction and retention, and sustainability, according to the paper, which was written by Sonali Tare, Director of Knowledge and Research for CoreNet Global.