The 2004 American Communities survey covers many opinions that Americans hold about where they live, where they would like to live, and the policies for getting there. The survey reveals three main points:
- Americans favor smart growth communities with shorter commute times, sidewalks, and places to walk more than sprawling communities.
- The length of their commute to work holds a dominant place in Americans’ decisions about where to live. Americans place a high value on limiting their commute times and they are more likely to see improved public transportation and changing patterns of housing development as the solutions to longer commutes than increasing road capacities. This unambiguous finding suggests that, while public policies are going in one direction, public opinion is running down another path.
- Americans want government and business to be investing in existing communities before putting resources into newer communities farther out from cities and older suburbs. The public’s priorities for development include more housing for people with moderate and low incomes and slowing the rate of development of open space. Many Americans also express the desire for more places to walk or bike in their communities.