Resident Preferences and Walkability (01-30-17)

Brookfield probed how resident preferences align with neighborhood design elements that have been tied to walkability.  She found, after conducting focus groups with eleven residents’ groups with diverse sets of participants, that “Residents’ groups favoured providing a selection of services and facilities addressing a local need, such as a corner shop, within a walkable distance, but not the immediate vicinity, of housing. . . . Participants wanted their homes to be ‘insulated’ from the perceived disturbance ‒ noise, traffic, parking, anti-social behaviour ‒ of non-residential uses by a ‘buffer’ of residential properties. . .  overall the majority preference was for one that would take 10 to 15 minutes to cross on foot. . . . Uses such as offices, hotels, supermarkets, nightclubs, industry, warehousing and waste management were opposed in residential areas partly because they were assumed to introduce unwelcome noise. . . .  traffic, pollution, parking problems and anti-social behaviour.  . . . . a strong preference for green, leafy residential environments was identified. . . . . Providing housing at high densities ‒ specifically flats and small, tightly packed houses providing no private outdoor space ‒ was uniformly seen as unappealing and problematic.”

Katherine Brookfield.  2017.  “Residents’ Preference for Walkable Neighbourhoods.”  Journal of Urban Design, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 44-58.