A new survey from the National Association of Realtors — not from urbanists or environmentalist — finds that Americans increasingly prefer to live in mixed-use neighborhoods that are walkable and close to transit options.
It’s no longer the American dream to live in a traditional sprawling suburban development. Not only did 77 percent of respondents say that would prefer living in a walkable community, but 56 percent of respondents say that they would prefer to live in a smart growth community, with walkability, mixed-use development, and transit. That’s compared to 43 percent who said they would rather live in a sprawl community.
“Realtors care about improving communities through smart growth initiatives,” said NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Our members don’t just sell homes, they sell neighborhoods. Realtors understand that different home buyers are looking for all kinds of neighborhood settings and that many home buyers want walkable, transit-accessible communities.”
But while the desire to live in sprawl seems to be fading, the desire to live in single-family detached homes remains. The survey found that 80 percent want to live in single-family detached homes over more dense housing, like apartments or condos. Unfortunately, the two desires seem at odds with each other, especially in big cities.
So which is it America, sprawl or smart growth?
I’m sure you’ll keep this study in mind when you choose.