Asking Realtors and Developers: What factors promote the development and sale of housing in activity-friendly neighborhoods?

Pilot study comparing the physical activity levels, eating behavior and body mass index of people living in walkable versus non-walkable neighborhoods

Field of Work: Research on buyer demand for activity-friendly communities

Problem Synopsis: Existing studies do not allow researchers to determine causal relationships between community design and population physical activity and/or obesity levels. There is wide agreement on the need for prospective studies to evaluate the effects of community environments and policies on childhood activity levels, dietary behaviors and related health outcomes, including obesity.

Synopsis of the Work: In 2009, researchers with the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis surveyed 4,950 realtors belonging to the National Association of Realtors and 162 developers in the National Association of Home Builders to learn about factors that influence the building of, and buyer demand for, “traditional neighborhood developments,” also known as activity-friendly communities.

Key Findings/Results: In the Journal of Physical Activity and Health the researchers reported that realtors think homebuyers rank affordability, safety and school quality higher than closeness to green space, ease of walking or other amenities associated with traditional neighborhood developments. Yet, realtors and developers both believed that consumers are more interested in living in traditional neighborhood developments than they were five years ago.

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