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An examination of residential preferences for less sustainable housing


  • Peter Howley

    () (Rural Economy and Development Programme, Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland)

  • Mark Scott

    (School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, UCD)

  • Declan Redmond

    (School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, UCD)


The onus on the planning systems of most advanced capitalist societies to develop a more sustainable urban development pattern has resulted in an ever-increasing emphasis on policies to increase residential densities. As evident by rapidly sprawling development patterns which are now characteristic of most Western societies, individual residential preferences appear to be at variance with this policy agenda. Using quantitative and qualitative research data this paper examines the motives, behaviour and preferences of residents living in new relatively compact residential environments in the central area of Dublin city. This is a group who have made the choice to move into a relatively compact urban area and hence it will be revealing to assess the motives, preferences and future intentions of this residential population. Evidence presented in this paper would suggest that residential preferences are at variance with policy prescription emphasising the need for higher residential densities as, for example, even among those living in new compact urban environments in the central city, there is a clear aspiration for lower density living. The preference of the majority of these residents to ultimately relocate to lower-density locations would suggest that urban planners and designers still have some way to go before they can claim to have created residential environments that meet liveability as well as sustainability criteria.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Howley & Mark Scott & Declan Redmond, 2008. "An examination of residential preferences for less sustainable housing," Working Papers 0824, Rural Economy and Development Programme,Teagasc.
  • Handle: RePEc:tea:wpaper:0824

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alex Anas & Richard Arnott & Kenneth A. Small, 1998. "Urban Spatial Structure," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1426-1464, September.
    2. Mills, Edwin S, 1995. "Crisis and Recovery in Office Markets," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 49-62, January.
    3. Holly Barcus, 2004. "Urban-Rural Migration in the USA: An Analysis of Residential Satisfaction," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(6), pages 643-657.
    4. Peter Mieszkowski & Edwin S. Mills, 1993. "The Causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 135-147, Summer.
    5. Chris Hamnett & Drew Whitelegg, 2007. "Loft conversion and gentrification in London: from industrial to postindustrial land use," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 39(1), pages 106-124, January.
    6. Edwin S. Mills & Luan Sende Lubuele, 1997. "Inner Cities," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 727-756, June.
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