Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Tourist Test

I posted this comment on Kaid Benfield's blog several months ago:

I've long promoted something I call the "Tourist Test," which is this: "Is your neighborhood so good that people from other places would give up their vacation days to spend time there?"
Most of the time, we don't aspire to creating places this good. Getting a first-home community developer to think in these terms is very tough in most cases. But Charleston, Paris, Rome, London, New York, and Washington all had residents first and tourists second. In other words, they were first-home communities that became good enough to want to visit.

The Seaside phenomenon is fairly recent by comparison: build a resort that some people later inhabit as their first-home community. In other words, Tourists first, residents later.

Either way, people wanting to vacation there is an indicator of a great place. Bottom line... getting people to say "I want to live there" is the lowest bar to clear. Much higher is the bar of getting people to say "I want to vacation there." The highest bar is getting people to say both... some say "it's good enough to live there," and ALSO others say "it's good enough to vacation there."

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