Mixed development is in: more than half of Americans prefer neighborhoods with easy access to stores and public transportation, according to a new study released by the Urban Land Institute.
ULI partnered with Belden Russonello Strategists to conduct a statistically representative survey of 1,202 adults living in the United States.
They discovered that 62 percent of Americans planning to move in the next five years would prefer to settle in mixed-use communities, which are defined by shorter commutes, smaller homes, proximity to retail and offices, variety of incomes, readily available public transportation and variety of homes. These mixed-use neighborhoods especially appealed to African Americans (75%), Millennials (62%), single people (60%), renters (60%) and college grads (60%).
But wait, you might cry: what about the historical love affair between Americans and their cars? The survey found that most people in the United States are dedicated drivers; 77 percent of Americans overall drive daily, and a whopping 93 percent of people earning more than $75,000 per year depend on an automobile every day.
In comparison, only 2 percent of Americans bike daily (no wonder no US locale made the top 20 list of bicycle-friendly cities), while 26 percent bike during a typical month. And just 6 percent use public buses and trains daily, with African Americans (18 percent) and Latinos (14 percent) more likely to take public transit on a regular basis.
So, who is rooting for public transportation? Of the people who earn less than $25,000 per year, 63 percent said they prefer public transit options, compared with 40 percent of people who earn $75,000 or more per year. Education was also a factor: 60 percent of respondents with a postgraduate education favored buses and trains, in contrast with 48 percent of Americans with a high school education or less.
Here are what Americans prefer among the five attributes of mixed-use communities — clearly, a shorter commute is top priority (graphic by ULI):
And who, exactly, is more likely to favor mixed-use or “compact” development?