Before the 2008 recession hit, Americans were obsessed with big houses, big cars, paying no mind to the big debt that went along with them. But since the economic crisis, it appears that most of us have been taken down a peg or two. Potentially losing everything has brought into focus what’s really important–and according to a recent survey (PDF), it’s no longer having a massive house.
According to the 2011 Community Preference Survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, the shifting economy has had a substantial impact on attitudes toward housing and communities.
After hearing detailed descriptions of two different types of communities, 56 percent of Americans would prefer to live in a the smart growth community rather than a sprawl community. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said sidewalks and places to take walks are among the top community characteristics they consider important when deciding where to live. Perhaps even more surprising was the fact that 57 percent said that improving existing communities was a much higher priority than building new ones.
Other encouraging survey findings:
- Preserving farms and open areas from development are a higher priority (53% extremely high or high priority) than creating new developments (24%).
- Improving public transportation is viewed as the best answer to traffic congestion by half of the country (50%).
- After hearing detailed descriptions of two different types of communities, 56% of Americans select the smart growth community and 43% select the sprawl community. Smart growth choosers do so largely because of the convenience of being within walking distance to shops and restaurants (60%).
Image Credit: Flickr – Lance Shields