Americans Want Walkable Neighborhoods. Our Streetscape Solutions Can Help.
A recent study conducted by the National Association of Realtors showed that the majority of Americans now value the “walkability” of a neighborhood — basically, how easy a neighborhood makes it to get outside and walk to shops, schools, parks, and community activities — even more than the size of the homes in a neighborhood.
Overall, Americans’ ideal communities have a mix of houses, places to walk, and amenities within an easy walk or close drive.
When selecting a community, nearly half of the public (47%) would prefer to live in a city (19%) or a suburban neighborhood with a mix of houses, shops, and businesses (28%). Another four in ten (40%) would prefer a rural area (22%) or a small town (18%). Only one in ten (12%) say they would prefer a suburban neighborhood with houses only.
In a forced choice question, being within walking distance of amenities is preferred by a majority of Americans. Nearly six in ten adults (58%) would prefer to live in a neighborhood with a mix of houses and stores and other businesses within an easy walk. Four in ten (40%) select a community with housing only, where residents need to drive to get to businesses.
This might be surprising — who wouldn’t love a huge house, after all — but the requirement of other benefits when buying a home makes sense.
Safe, walkable neighborhoods benefit from an enhanced sense of community and “neighborly” feel. Residents benefit from a sense of integration and friendship, and are more likely to put down long-term roots if they feel a sense of belonging. Walkability also seamlessly weaves regular doses of exercise, sunshine, and nature into folks’ everyday lives.
Furthermore, as the study shows, families are increasingly looking for these sorts of benefits while shopping for a home, which means walkability has financial benefits for a neighborhood as well. Simply put, home values are likely to be higher. In a struggling housing market like the one currently experienced by communities all around the country, these benefits can make a huge difference in attracting potential homebuyers.
Historically, dense urban areas have been designed to be walkable out of necessity — it’s hard to pack in a ton of people into a small area if everyone is expecting a designated parking spot. But in less dense areas, walkability almost needs to be a choice made by community leaders and planners. But as the studies show, home-buyers are increasingly demanding it.
Here, Brandon Industries can help. We’re proud to offer an unmatched range of streetscape solutions — such as decorative street lights, custom street signs, and wayfinding signs — that make it easy for communities to develop an infrastructure for walkability that is safe, smart, and attractive.