Buying New Urbanism: A Study of New Urban Characteristics that Residents Most Value
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This study is an exploration of the essential characteristics of New Urban communities and how its residents may value these characteristics. Specifically, the purpose of this research is to identify through the literature the essential physical characteristics of greenfield New Urban communities. Secondly, it explores which of these characteristics are most valued by New Urban residents and how these values may differ from those of the residents of a comparative Conventional Suburban Development in the same market area. To fulfill the research purposes, a review of the literature was undertaken which ultimately evolved into a survey instrument that was developed from the conceptual framework (working hypotheses). This survey was administered to a sample of residents from a New Urban and a Conventional Suburban Development in Kyle, Texas. An independent samples t-test analysis of the survey data revealed that New Urban residents value several characteristics at significantly greater levels than the residents of the Conventional Suburban Development. These included: higher densities, mixed land use, and traditional architectural elements. Transportation choice, particularly neighborhood walkability, had no significant difference between the development types but instead demonstrated strong support among the residents of both neighborhoods. At the same time the residents were generally neutral towards mixing of housing types and neighborhood resident diversity. The results of this study suggest a strong interest of both New Urban and Conventional Suburban Development residents towards many of the essential characteristics of New Urbanism. This has important implications for both state and local government regulators of land development and for developers themselves as they plan future communities. The study also found that New Urban developers might have to focus their efforts to reduce potential buyer skepticism about the potential benefits of higher densities, mixing of housing types, and resident diversity.