The Secret To Saving America’s Downtowns

By: Kaydee Ambas · August 04, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

A Tale of Two Cities

Two distinct scenarios are playing out in downtown city centers across America.

Downtown areas that mainly consist of office buildings are struggling to regain foot traffic. According to data collected by the University of Toronto, in the office-centric cities of Portland, San Francisco, and Cleveland, foot traffic remains at 40% of pre-pandemic levels or below.

The cities where foot traffic is surging all have one thing in common: downtowns with plenty of other amenities. These include residential communities, green space, restaurants, safe and reliable public transit, and fun attractions. Salt Lake City, Bakersfield, and Fresno — cities with diverse downtown areas — have seen foot traffic return to and even surpass pre-pandemic levels.

You Can Always Go…

Downtowns are typically the beating economic heart of a city, funneling revenue via taxes and more. Downtown areas often contain most of a city’s businesses, financial institutions, government offices, and other important services. These entities generate significant amounts of revenue for local governments through taxes on their activities as well as fees from services such as permits or licenses.

Downtowns also attract people from all over the area who come to shop and dine, providing additional tax income to municipalities through sales taxes on their purchases. ​​

Redesigning Downtown

As cities around the world continue to grapple with the economic and social repercussions of the pandemic, many are turning their eyes to their downtowns. It’s become increasingly clear that cities that have invested in diverse downtowns, offering a healthy mixture of office space, housing, attractions, and so on, are faring much better than those who haven’t.

​​The fact that several cities with diverse downtowns have been able prove so resilient despite global economic downturn is indeed encouraging news — though we must remember that this success didn’t happen overnight: Years of planning went into creating these vibrant urban centers before they became what they are today.

If more municipalities followed suit in investing in their own unique brand of urbanity – complete with a mix of shops, restaurants, offices, and residences – there could be hope yet that America’s downtown areas could thrive once again.

Looking for more stories like this? Check out On the Money — SoFi’s one-stop-shop for news, trends, and tips!

Check it out

Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Advisor
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender