The Community Builders RESET report gave us great insight into the kind of housing people are looking for in the Rocky Mountain West.
We learned that high preference is given to location. Location not only in the sense of being close to work or close to natural amenities, but location that makes people feel secure and provides valuable growth experiences for themselves and their children. Walkable access to shops and businesses require housing to intermingle with these destinations in a thoughtful manner.
Affordability & Character
Affordability is also high on the list. People want to get the best home for their money. They also said that neighborhood character is more important than home size, but the runaway preference is for single detached homes. However, survey recipients valued proximity to schools, stores and restaurants over lot size. So this suggests that offering a variety of housing options will be desirable if they are connected to other amenities.
So how does this play out? What are they looking for? By all accounts, they want to live in complete neighborhoods. The City of Portland defines a complete neighborhood as “an area where residents have safe and convenient access to goods and services they need on a daily or regular basis. This includes a range of housing options, grocery stores and other neighborhood-serving commercial services; quality public schools; public open spaces and recreational facilities; and access to frequent transit. In a complete neighborhood, the network of streets and sidewalks is interconnected, which makes walking and bicycling to these places safe and relatively easy for people of all ages and abilities.”
The RESET report is just one snapshot across many communities in the Rocky Mountain West, and what residents want as a whole isn’t always what your community values. So how do you determine that? Ask them! Conduct market surveys to figure out what the economic profile is of a complete neighborhood—not just what is needed to meet basic needs, but where they play, recreate and seek entertainment.