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Study Examines Economic, Cultural, Social Value Of Downtown San Antonio

Katie Haugland Bowen (CC BY 2.0)
Flickr http://bit.ly/2vtTffj

Traditionally, downtown areas are centers of commerce, transportation, education and  government, and are frequently the economic anchors of their regions. 

An ongoing study aims to measure the "vitality index" of the downtown area in 13 cities including San Antonio, by measuring each area's economic impact as well as values like inclusivity, vibrancy, cultural identity and resiliency. 

Downtown San Antonio is only 0.3 percent of the city's total land mass, but per square mile the city's core contains 1.5 times as many residential housing units, 30 times the jobs and amount of retail space, and 140 times the amount of office space as areas outside of downtown.

Preliminary results from the vitality study show that for every dollar generated per square mile in the City of San Antonio, downtown brings in 15 to 18 times more. 

A sizable portion of the last voter-approved bond package will fund downtown projects with "citywide impact." 

How does investing in a strong downtown core benefit the entire city? Is Downtown San Antonio an accurate reflection of the city's identity and diversity? 


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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.