Walkable City Rules
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New Home Construction Shows More Porches, Fewer Garages Per 2011 Census Data

As if to show that "walkable" is the new mobility in America, even with single-family-homes, new census findings show two-thirds of homes constructed last year had front porches while the number of garages or carports decreased to late 1990 levels.
September 22, 2012, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg report on the 2011 U.S Census survey and find results showing a ten-year trend.

  • New homes with front or rear porches has grown from 42% in 1992 to 65% in 2011
  • 13% of homes were built without a garage or carport in 2010 and 2011 compared with 8% in 2004

To be sure, no one is suggesting that walking, biking, and public transit will replace the private automobile in neighborhoods composed mostly of single family homes, even new ones. However, even Stephen Melman of the National Association of Home Builders did state about the findings: "It's very positive about public transportation if new construction is starting to be built closer to employment centers or transit."

The porches may say more about homebuyers desire to interact (to a certain level) with their neighbors than mobility.

"The front porch acts as a social mechanism," says Christopher Leinberger, president of Smart Growth America's LOCUS, a coalition of developers and investors who promote walking over driving. "You sit on the porch and talk to people walking by without having to invite them in. It's outdoor space without taking up too much space."

Also reporting on the findings, Streetsblog Capitol Hill's Tanya Snyder writes, "(D)evelopers are (belatedly) building what the market wants: denser housing in walkable urban centers near transit. Copious parking and driveway curb cuts simply don't mesh with that model."

Thanks to Streetsblog San Francisco

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Published on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 in USA Today
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