Building for the 21st Century: American support for sustainable communities

A recent poll by Smart Growth America has found that in the midst of a struggling U.S. economy, support for smart growth strategies remains high among Americans across the country and on both sides of the political aisle.

Click here to download “Building for the 21st Century: American support for sustainable communities” (PDF)

The poll focused specifically on support for sustainable communities: urban, suburban or rural communities that have more housing and transportation choices, are closer to jobs, shops or schools, are more energy independent and help protect clean air and water. Making communities more sustainable means generating more jobs, lowering housing and transportation costs and using limited public funds more wisely.

As the U.S. economy incrementally recovers, Americans want the federal government to stop spending into deficit and use the money it does have more effectively. Smart growth strategies do just that by reducing infrastructure costs at the state and federal level, strengthening local and state revenues and building economic wealth by investing in existing communities. Among the poll’s major findings:

  • Most Americans – regardless of political affiliation – support sustainable communities.
  • Most Americans believe their region needs more sustainable communities.
  • Most Americans believe that sustainable communities are an important part of rebuilding the national economy.
  • Most Americans agree about a number of problems facing our country, including our dependence on oil, the high cost of housing and transportation, the troubles facing our economy and spending existing federal funds more wisely. Smart growth solutions help address all of these issues.
  • Americans overwhelmingly support the guiding principles of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

The strong support for sustainable communities revealed by this poll should encourage lawmakers at both the state and federal level to support smart growth strategies. This approach to community development is fiscally responsible, creates economically strong communities and, as this poll details, is widely popular with voters across the country and across the political spectrum.

The poll of 1,200 people was conducted in late 2010 by Collective Strength and reviewed by Harris Interactive. The results are calibrated to mirror current U.S. Census estimates for age, race, income, gender and region, with a +/- 3% margin of error. The poll was made possible through funding from the Ford Foundation.

Click here to download “Building for the 21st Century: American support for sustainable communities” (PDF)