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Reason Foundation

Homebuyers clamoring for smart growth?

Ted Balaker
October 24, 2004, 12:57pm

Joel Schwartz has the scoop on a misleading survey that says homebuyers prefer smart-growth-style accomodations. Other surveys have shown the opposite, that most people still prefer suburban-style living. And of course reality trumps any survey anyhow because what people actually do is more important than what they say they'll do. So where are people moving? To metro areas like Atlanta, which smart growth types scorn. (And, for the first time since its inception in the 60s, Atlanta's transit agency has no plans to expand its heavy rail system. Does anyone think that will stop any Atlanta-bound U-Hauls in their tracks?) Even when there is growth in high density metro areas, most tends to be in the suburbs. In the last three years 80 percent of the growth in LA (which is, contrary to popular belief, the highest density metro area) and New York occurred in the 'burbs. Schwartz also makes a good point about the density and travel times: [I]n Manhattan, a paragon of density and mixed-use urbanity, the average commute takes about 30 minutes -- 30th out of 233 urban counties ranked by the Census. Thirteen out of the worst 30 counties are in the New York metropolitan area ... And the nation's longest journey to work (52 minutes) is endured by, yep, New York transit commuters.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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