For anyone who has been living under a Geodude, the Pokémon GO craze is in full swing nationwide, and Fargo is no exception. The game has its diehard fans as well as its critics, but at the end of the day, the impact is impossible not to notice people are walking more.
The game uses a phone’s camera and Augmented Reality to project Pokémon onto the area around a player, but the creatures do not just appear at a player’s will, users must walk or bike around in order to find or hatch Pokémon. Even when walking, players are more likely to find Pokémon, and other items and locations needed to advance in the game, in areas of a city with a greater concentration of stores and attractions. All in all, this means that downtown Fargo has become Pokémon Trainer HQ.
Kilbourne Group has a simple belief that vibrant downtowns create smart, healthy cities. In other words, an urban center where walking is useful and comfortable, and where activity is occurring around the clock makes for favorable economic conditions through density, a healthier population through alternative transportation options, and a stronger workforce through acting as a metro’s differentiator.
While Pokémon Trainers may not be aware of Kilbourne Group or its belief, they have inadvertently come to a complementary conclusion that vibrant downtowns create numerous, strong Pokémon. The corner of Broadway and 2nd Ave N, as shown in the images above, has a WalkScore of 96, the highest score in the metro by a long shot, and WalkScore uses an algorithm not unlike that of Pokémon GO. Both systems favor areas with greater numbers of attractions and stores that can be walked to.
While Kilbourne Group gets excited about new infill projects because of their ability to strengthen the tax base without the need for new infrastructure, Pokémon GO players get excited because the increased density gives them a better shot at catching them all. When Kilbourne Group cheers on a case of historic revitalization for its ability to attract and retain talented employees in Fargo, Pokémon Trainers cheer on their Team members as the new project becomes a Gym where they can battle for the glory of winning control.
From Kilbourne Group to Pokémon Trainers everywhere, we say, play on! Enjoy the benefits of your city’s walkable neighborhoods, and when the servers inevitably crash, don’t be afraid to do a little walking around using Actual Reality, it’ pretty interesting even without Weedles and Rattatas all over the place.