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Gimme Gimme Smart Growth ...

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Name:Michael Patrick
Location:San Jose, California, United States

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Sunday, November 14


Gimme Gimme Smart Growth

Linked by Planetizen, an editorial in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune claims that smart growth is now a market preference. According to a National Association of Realtors/Smart Growth America survey:

Americans expecting to buy homes in the next few years lean toward communities with a mix of nearby housing, shopping and walking opportunities, and an option of riding transit to work. By 61 to 39 percent, they prefer this kind of smart growth to the more typical offering: large expanses of single-family homes, no sidewalks, no shopping or schools within walking distance, and reliance on driving at least 45 minutes to work.

That's nice, but factors a majority of repondents rated as "very" or "somewhat" important in deciding where to live (see page 3) included such pro-sprawl sentiments as

  • "easy access to the highway" (with 75% of respondents, the number-two factor),
  • "living in a place that's away from it all" (60%, no. 5), and
  • "having a large house on more than one acre of land" (57%, no. 6).

Hence, the market preference seems evident but not very strong.

Furthermore, do these respondents say what they mean? Will they actually support transit taxes, new land use controls, accessory units (with corresponding new, perhaps low-income residents and car traffic), and other typical smart growth stuff?