As Jane Jacobs so eloquently described it in The Death and Life of American Cities, much of the essence of urban living is reflected in the “sidewalk ballet” of people going about their daily errands, wandering along the margins of public spaces (streets, sidewalks, parks and squares) and in and out of quasi-private spaces (stores, salons, bars, boutiques, bars and restaurants).
Clusters of these quasi-private spaces, which are usually neighborhood businesses, activate a streetscape, both drawing life from and adding to a steady flow of people outside.
In an effort to begin to quantify this key aspect of neighborhood vitality, we’ve developed a new statistical indicator—the Storefront Index (click to see the full report)—that measures the number and concentration of customer-facing businesses in the nation’s large metropolitan areas. We’ve computed the Storefront Index by mapping the locations of hundreds of thousands of everyday businesses: grocery and hardware stores, beauty salons, bookstores, bars and restaurants, movie theatres and entertainment venues, and then identifying significant clusters of these businesses—places where each storefront business is no more than 100 meters from the next storefront.
The result is a series of maps, available for the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan areas, that show the location, size, and intensity of neighborhood business clusters down to the street level. Here’s an example for Washington, DC. On this map, each dot represents one storefront business. This maps shows storefront businesses throughout the metropolitan area. In downtown Washington, there is a high concentration of storefronts; as one moves further out towards the suburbs, the number of storefronts diminishes, and storefronts are increasingly found arrayed only along major arterials, with a few satellite city centers (like Alexandria).
read he full article:http://cityobservatory.org/storefront/