An examination of residential preferences for less sustainable housing
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.
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