16th Street Mall entrance to Denver Pavilion

The 16th Street Mall entrance to Denver Pavilions is one of the places people go to shop and dine within walking distance of homes, work and retail.

Denver trails only the Big Apple when it comes to walking for work, shopping and home, according to a report released Monday.

Joining New York City and Denver at the top of the list, in order, are Boston; Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Bay area; and Chicago.

The rankings in the report, from the Georgetown University School of Business and Smart Growth America, are based on the share of densely packed office, retail, and apartment-complex space in a metro area as opposed to more spread-out, car-dependent development.

The Mile High City tumbles out of the top cities, however, when it comes to momentum for future walkable growth, as Boston shoots to the top of the list and Detroit and Pittsburgh climb into the top five.

"Since 2003, metro Denver has been on a walkable urban infrastructure investment boom and is one of the top five metros for investment in rail transit, which has sparked a renaissance of walkable urbanism throughout the metro area, though primarily in the city itself," the report states.

"The fact that metro Denver is the location of the seventh most well-educated workforce of the top 30 metro areas with 42% of the workforce holding college degrees (compared to 31% for the U.S. and 37% for the largest 30 metros) is part of the reason for the jump in walkable urban development, since the knowledge economy demands walkable urbanism," the report adds.

"Metro Denver, like New York and other metros, has only a small fraction of their walkable urbanism in the suburbs, but ... this will probably change in the future, providing expansion."

The report, "Foot Traffic Ahead 2019," was released during the LOCUS/Smart Growth America National Leadership Summit in Arlington, Virginia.

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