April 4, 2011

Americans Prefer Sustainable Communities

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released a study today confirming what we at HUD have been hearing from people in communities around the country since this administration took office: Americans prefer sustainable communities. NAR’s study, the “Community Preference Survey” found that a clear majority of respondents prefer dense walkable areas over those that require more driving between home, work and recreation.

We at HUD have been working to meet the American people’s demand for more sustainable communities since the moment President Obama took office. In 2009, HUD created the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities (OSHC) to award grants promoting smart growth with a focus on walkabliity and density. The response has been overwhelming, with grant applications from every state and two territories all from communities interested in planning a smarter future.

The NAR survey results are another encouraging sign that communities around America are embracing HUD’s push for sustainable communities and we will keep working to deliver the results that families are looking for.

4 Responses to Americans Prefer Sustainable Communities

  1. In my own 20 year old suburban development neighborhood, the only place I can walk to without getting hit by a car would be my neighbor’s house. There are no accessible sidewalks that could lead me anywhere! I worked at a retirement home less than half a mile down the road, but was forced to drive because there was no safe place for me to walk. It is frustrating, especially moving back home from a very pedestrian-friendly college town. While at school, I enjoy the freedom of getting to walk to where I need to go and not worry if there will even be sidewalks. I am also an avid cyclist but there is no safe place for me to ride on the roads. I do not want to have to get into my car and drive to another town just so I can ride my bike. That is unsustainable. I am glad that the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities was created to help embrace sustainability. As a student starting a Masters program with a concentration in sustainability and sustainable development, this pleases me that America is preferring sustainability and one day we will be able to walk through our communities.

  2. Marguerite,

    Thank you for sharing your story. So many Americans share your frustrations! We are working as hard as we can at HUD to help communities across the country imagine a more sustainable future but we need your help! Talk to your friends and family members about sustainability and HUD’s efforts and together we can work towards a better future.

  3. Question: What are the model sustainable communities? Columbia, MD is nice but it is really far from Washington and isn’t on the metro (I guess it depends on your perspective, it is estimated that only about 15% of Columbia’s residents work in DC, so the other 75% may have shorter commutes). I’ve heard Reston is a lovely community as well. Parts of Alexandria and Fairfax county are great too but tend to be inflated and price out some prospective buyers. What does everyone think – what are some great sustainable communities?
    What are the benchmarks and best practices, i.e. what defines a successful sustainable community?

    Again, what are the model communities for this initiative?

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