Strangely, Folks Prefer Larger Homes in the Burbs


Strangely, Folks Prefer Larger Homes in the Burbs

According to a recent survey, Americans prefer to live in larger houses, with some land around them a few miles from schools, stores and clubs, than in smaller houses within walking distance of such amenities. I’m not sure one would need a survey to come to that conclusion, but there you are. You can read all about it in

It would seem that this would be good news for the parking industry, meaning that more travel, even short term, is on the horizon, and if the numbers stay the way they are, 85% of that travel will be by car and will need some place to park.

The survey goes to great length to sort our demographic groups (age, race, politics) and virtually all had a majority preferring larger homes in the burbs.

I wonder what this means to civic planners. Their goal is to build cities with extremely high density, virtually no single family homes, and no land where the kids and pets can romp. What if you built a city and no one came?

I drove north on I 15 from San Diego toward Temecula on Friday at around 3 PM. There was traffic, lots of traffic. But as I got further and further away from the city, the traffic lessened. People were driving to Escondido, Vista, Valley Center, and similar suburbs. They were willing to spend 45 minutes commuting each way in exchange for that larger home and plot of land. Whether planners think this is a good thing, or living in the city is better than in the burbs is not the point. The people buying homes and driving the cars think it is.

For central cities to become more popular as places to live, perhaps we need to clean them up, lower crime rates, lower housing costs and make them more livable. When you can drop the cost of a home by half by driving 45 minutes, it’s a small wonder people will do so.


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John Van Horn

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