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Survey: Anti-Developer Sentiment Drives Anti-Development Sentiment

All planners encounter passionate obstructionist activity at some point. While the reasoning for anti-development is often discussed, it's still not a widely understood force in the planning process and the evolution of cities.
March 1, 2018, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Housing Development

New research from Paavo Monkeonen and Michael Manville at the University of California, Los Angeles shed light on the nature of community opposition to proposed developments. That kind of insight is valuable to anyone who tasked with listening and responding to the concerns of members of the public, like planners, or have a critical project to deliver through the approvals process, like planners.

The primary question posed by the new research paper published for free online by Monkkonen and Manville is about the cause of anti-development sentiment. The researchers surveyed 1,300 residents of Los Angeles County "to measure the relative power of different arguments against new housing." Respondents were questioned about common anti-development arguments, like traffic congestion, neighborhood character, and strained local services, and also introduced the idea that people might not like development "because they do not like developers."

The key finding of the report is strong evidence that much anti-development sentiment is actually anti-developer sentiment. According to the study's abstract, "opposition to new development increases by 20 percentage points when respondents see the argument that a developer is likely to earn a large profit from the building."

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Published on Thursday, February 22, 2018 in UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate
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