Rethink the Cityscape

Your members can take the lead in reinventing urban spaces after COVID-19.

People are talking about the long-term effect COVID-19 could have on their cities. But REALTOR® associations who serve members in urban areas have an opportunity to stake a leadership position in these discussions and bring about well-planned change that protects property rights and enhances values.

At the National Association of REALTORS®’ Urban Roundtable in May, hosted by Miami REALTORS® CEO Teresa King Kinney, CIPS, RCE, experts shared with association executives and presidents what a reinvented urban environment might look like. Panelists said cities adjusting to the coronavirus might:

  • Create interaction zones where restaurants and cafés offer outdoor seating and customers can physically distance.
  • Replace vacant public, office, and retail spaces with urban farming and food production.
  • Adapt roads to make room for pedestrians and “micromobility” vehicles such as bikes and scooters.

The key to forging lasting change in cities is not just good planning but good design, said roundtable panelist Petra Hurtado, research director at the American Planning Association. “You have to design communities so that people want to get out of the car and experience the place.”

REALTOR® Party Community Outreach grants can help your association drive community development and design. They also offer opportunities to position your association as the leading authority on real estate development and public policies, and help you forge important relationships with policymakers and their staffs.

For example, are there plans to make public infrastructure more accommodating to social distancing? Consider applying for a Placemaking grant to help build a walking trail or bike lane or to fund a community garden that brings fresh produce to urban residents. Or leverage a Smart Growth grant to support downtown business areas or expand access to public spaces for recreation and transportation.

The roundtable was part of NAR’s 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. Find information about all of NAR’s community outreach grants—including grants for community rebuilding, fair housing, and land-use initiatives—at under “Programs and Grants.”


On Common Ground: Spring 2020

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