According to an American Planning Association poll, Americans want sidewalks, transit, and locally owned businesses.

What's most important to economic development in your community? Better transit, thriving local businesses, more affordable housing?

Community plans are a key component in bringing those ideas to life. According to a new poll from the American Planning Association, Americans agree. Two-thirds of the 1,300 Americans surveyed said that their community needs both planning and market forces to improve its economic situation.

When asked if a community plan - defined as a "process that seeks to engage all members of a community to create more prosperous, convenient, equitable, healthy and attractive places for present and future generations" - would benefit the community, 79 percent of respondents agreed. And that's across a broad political spectrum with 88 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of Republicans, and 81 percent of independents in agreement.

Respondents were also asked to rank the top five factors that make up an "ideal community." The results:

  1. Locally owned businesses nearby
  2. Being able to stay in the same neighborhood while aging
  3. Availability of sidewalks
  4. Energy-efficient homes
  5. Availability of transit

When asked to compare life for residents in their communities to five years earlier, an overwhelming number of respondents (84 percent) said that life was worse (49 percent) or the same (35 percent). Only 11 percent felt that living in their community was better than it was five years ago.

It's worth noting that there's a significant gap in this statistic depending on where people live. In urban areas, 40 percent of residents said their community is getting worse, while the percentage gradually increased in suburbs (45 percent), rural areas (58 percent), and small towns (65 percent).

"Planners are at the forefront of building communities that foster economic growth and create jobs. We’re working to add value to communities around the country, and this poll confirms that our expertise is aligned with the priorities of most Americans," APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer wrote in a statement.

This graphic breaks down the numbers:

Read the full report here.

 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a closed street in St. Louis
    Equity

    The Curious Tale of the St. Louis Street Barriers

    Thanks to an '80s mania for traffic calming, the St. Louis grid is broken by hundreds of bollards and cul-de-sacs. Critics say it’s time to get rid of them.

  2. A young girl winces from the sting as she receives the polio vaccine in 1954.
    Life

    How Mandatory Vaccination Fueled the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

    To better understand the controversy over New York’s measles outbreak, you have to go back to the late 19th century.

  3. Life

    How to Inspire Girls to Become Carpenters and Electricians

    Male-dominated trades like construction, plumbing, and welding can offer job security and decent pay. A camp aims to show girls these careers are for them, too.

  4. Design

    A New Plan to Correct a Historic Mistake in Pittsburgh

    A Bjarke Ingels Group-led plan from 2015 has given way to a more “practical” design for the Lower Hill District. Concerns over true affordable housing remain.

  5. People eat and drink coffee inside a small coffeehouse.
    Life

    Gentrification Is Hurting Kuala Lumpur's Iconic Coffee Shops

    Traditional kopitiams, which serve sweetened coffee in no-frills surroundings, are a part of Malaysian national identity, but their survival is precarious.