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Americans Prefer to Live in Mixed-Use, Walkable Communities

April 2, 2014  |  National Association of Realtors
The information provided here is for informational and educational purposes and does not necessarily reflect the opinion and/or policy position of the Georgia Municipal Association.

A majority of Americans favor a neighborhood with a mix of houses, stores, and other businesses that are within walking distance, rather than neighborhoods requiring driving between home, work, and recreation.

The 2013 Community Preference Survey undertaken by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicates a strong preference by Americans to live in a walkable neighborhood.

When survey respondents were specifically asked if they would prefer to live in Community A (conventional suburb) or Community B (walkable community), 50% preferred a walkable community while 45% preferred a conventional suburb,
Findings from the survey on the "ideal community" include:
  • A majority prefers houses with small yards and easy walks to schools, stores and restaurants over houses with large yards but where you have to drive to get to schools, stores and restaurants (55 percent to 40 percent)
  • An even larger majority prefers houses with smaller yards but a shorter commute to work over houses with larger yards but a longer commute to work (57 percent to 36 percent).
  • A neighborhood with a mix of houses, stores and businesses that are easy to walk to is preferred over a neighborhood with houses only that requires driving to stores and businesses (60 percent to 35 percent).
  • Nevertheless, when given a choice between a detached, single family house that requires driving to shops and a longer commute to work and an apartment or condominium with an easy walk to shops and a shorter commute to work, a strong majority prefers the single family home – even with the longer commute (57 percent to 39 percent).
More information about the findings of the 2013 Community Preference Survey can be found on the NAR web site.