Tag Archives: community

This is really clever.

The Small Streets Blog, a publication I found linked from Slate, has a very cool visualization of historic villages superimposed on parking lots.  Its eye-opening, and a great way to think about how much space is actually dedicated to cars.  The first shows the park-and-ride lot of Greenbelt, MD (given that the lot feeds public transportation, choosing it is a little bit of a cheap shot), with a Swedish village plopped on top.

Image courtesy Small Streets Blog

People are really terrible at understanding scale, and anything like this that helps you see how space can be redeployed is a really good thing.  We need to splash this stuff all over the internet.

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Does size matter? Americans weigh in on housing desires

I’ve heard it said, and have often repeated, that one can get used to living in a smaller house (or condo or apartment), but you never get used to a long commute. After decades of continued car-dependent sprawl, maybe we’re all finally cluing in. Or maybe not.

According to the 2011 Community Preference Survey that outlines what Americans look for when deciding where to live:

Six in ten (59%) would choose a smallerhouse and lot if it meant a commute time of 20 minutes or less. Four in ten (39%) would stick with the larger houses even if their commute was 40 minutes or longer

OK, so we’re not exactly all on the same page here.

A couple other interesting factoids from the survey:

1) We want to walk.  More than three quarters of Americans consider having sidewalks and places to  walk one of their top priorities.

2) In fact, 6  in 10 people  said they would sacrifice a bigger house to live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy walk.  (Probably the same six in ten that would sacrifice space for a shorter commute?)

3)  Even more important than walkability is sense of  neighborhood.  88% of respondents would choose a good neighborhood over a larger home.  What that means I’m sure is up for discussion.

I know these things are true for me personally, but I wonder about the 39% of people who would rather live in a larger home for 40 minutes extra commute. 40 MINUTES!!! That’s a long time to be on the highway, or on the train.  I’m sure it’s a matter of scale, for some.   I’d love some more detail on what those numbers mean for people individually.

Check out the full survey results here.  And let me know what you think.  Does size matter?

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