When it comes to urban site selection, multifamily builders and developers should think about what the area will look like in 10 and 20 years, and who is investing in it, according to experts at last week’s Walkable Urban Places and Real Estate Market Conference.

“You have to look beyond your building or your group of buildings and look at an entire area and what it can become,” said Jair Lynch, president and CEO of Jair Lynch Development Partners. That might mean investing in an underdeveloped area where real estate costs are less, but there’s high potential for investment from government, local organizations and private companies.

But how can you tell if a neighborhood has potential for future development?If an upcoming neighborhood already has a strong identity, is highly walkable and has a strong built-in transportation system, those are all good signs for future development.

“Mobility is paramount,” Lynch said, “We think of transportation as a network and it’s very much essential in attracting new customers because they gravitate towards it immediately.”

But development in upcoming neighborhoods can also mean more management in the short term, which can be a challenge, said Rich Bradley, executive director for the Washington, D.C. Downtown Business Improvement District Corporation.

Still, strong management is essential for making an upcoming area liveable. That might mean working with local law enforcement and making a plan for increased security. It might also include carving out some retail space in development plans, making the area more well-rounded and liveable for residents.

“Build it and they will come, manage it and they will stay,” Bradley said.