The 20th century saw the advent of the “donut city” where Central Business Districts (CBDs) would hollow out after working hours, and became rather dilapidated areas with somewhat dangerous reputations.
But things have reversed in recent decades. The lower Manhattan area that houses Wall Street and the East London neighbourhoods around the City of London are prime examples where concerted revitalisation efforts are bringing people back to live in downtown areas.
New York City’s Financial District has been steadily attracting new residents into an area that offers exciting cultural activities alongside good schools, extensive parks and numerous children's programs popular with young families.
Projects like Howard Hughes’ Pier 17 redevelopment, opening later in 2018, will feature a mall, world-class restaurants and the Culture District’s exhibitions with partners like the Guggenheim Museum. The newly opened Fulton Center transit hub and One World Trade Center are bringing new vibrancy to the city.
Local resident Catherine McVay Hughes told Great American Country what she loves about staying in the CBD, “There are lots of pockets of parks. The entire Hudson River Waterfront has been newly renovated, and the East River Waterfront is being renovated. There's a huge strip where you can take long walks, and there are also bicycle paths. There are also phenomenal restaurants on Stone Street. It's only open to pedestrian traffic, and on beautiful nights it's packed with people going down there to eat."
Over in East London, the Olympics four years ago brought improved infrastructure, transforming an already lively area into a creative hub and nightlife destination. Art venues like the Whitechapel Gallery and creative businesses such as games developers and production companies have moved in around the Old Street Roundabout. The nightlife around Hoxton Square and Brick Lanes is now second to none.
Imran Ahmad, a bank executive who works in the City, chose to live in the area for the convenience which saved both time and money. “My family lives in Letchworth, the first garden city designed as a suburb for workers in London. But nowadays, it doesn’t make sense. I would be spending hours and hundreds of pounds commuting, whereas by moving close to the financial district, the Tube ride is no more than 10 minutes or I can walk to work in half an hour.”
The trend in CBD living is also becoming popular in Kuala Lumpur, especially now that transport links in the city are now nearing world-class.
We have seen the success of master-planned mixed developments, such as KL Sentral and KLCC, that came up last decade. Soon, TRX, which already has the best connectivity in the city being directly linked to three major highways and housing an MRT interchange, will take CBD living to another level.
New residential options in TRX and its neighbour Bukit Bintang City Center, along with their top-notch retail offerings, green spaces and plenty of entertainment and F&B offerings will bring together all the attractive ingredients of city living.
This will draw people back to the city, giving KL citizens a boost in joining in the global trend of moving back into revitalised city centres.