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Planning Family Friendly Communities Survey Results by Evelyn Israel and Mildred Warner, Cornell University, in collaboration with Carrie Fesperman, APA.

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Presentation on theme: "Planning Family Friendly Communities Survey Results by Evelyn Israel and Mildred Warner, Cornell University, in collaboration with Carrie Fesperman, APA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Planning Family Friendly Communities Survey Results by Evelyn Israel and Mildred Warner, Cornell University, in collaboration with Carrie Fesperman, APA Presented to the American Planning Association 2008 National Planning Conference Las Vegas, NV April 29, 2008

2 Background of Survey sent in March 2008 to APA members sent in March 2008 to APA members 944 respondents 944 respondents –44% work in cities –20% work in suburbs Interestingly, there was not much difference between city and suburbs Interestingly, there was not much difference between city and suburbs –69% practicing public planners But also planning consultants, elected government officials, planning commissioners But also planning consultants, elected government officials, planning commissioners

3 Survey Overview Focus group/workshop APA 2007 Focus group/workshop APA 2007 Structure of survey: Structure of survey: –Attitudes = very positive, which was a surprise –What Planners Can Do = more positive than expected –Barriers = encountered many, but not as pronounced as expected 98% of planners believe they can play a role in helping communities become family friendly 98% of planners believe they can play a role in helping communities become family friendly Bottom line – planners get it! We are starting to make changes, but there is still a lot to be done! Bottom line – planners get it! We are starting to make changes, but there is still a lot to be done!

4 Family friendly communities are communities where families enjoy: housing at affordable prices child care parks to play in pedestrian pathways quality public schools safe neighborhoods and other features that promote family well-being

5 Attitudes: Families Are Important To Communities Families are important to growth, sustainability, and diversity. (97%) Families are important to growth, sustainability, and diversity. (97%) Families represent a valuable consumer population. (97%) Families represent a valuable consumer population. (97%) Communities that keep people for the whole life cycle are more vibrant. (90%) Communities that keep people for the whole life cycle are more vibrant. (90%) The needs of families are similar to the needs of the elderly with regards to the physical environment. (64%) The needs of families are similar to the needs of the elderly with regards to the physical environment. (64%)

6 Planners Are Improving Conditions for Families Zoning can advance family interests Zoning can advance family interests Only 45% believe their communities have an adequate supply of 2+ bedroom housing

7 Many Family Needs Are Still Restricted By Zoning

8 Schools And Crime Not Seen As Barriers Roughly 2/3 of planners did not see lack of quality schools or high crime as barriers in their communities. Roughly 2/3 of planners did not see lack of quality schools or high crime as barriers in their communities. But planners are working with schools to: But planners are working with schools to: –reuse school buildings (30%) –site new schools (45%) –co-locate schools with parks, recreational areas, libraries, & community centers (43%)

9 Transportation: More Work Needed Parking requirements are not a problem in most communities (54%) Parking requirements are not a problem in most communities (54%) 84% have some form of public transportation. 84% have some form of public transportation. But, the actual routes parents regularly take are not included in transportation plans (60%) But, the actual routes parents regularly take are not included in transportation plans (60%) Planners do not promote alternatives to privately owned vehicles (59%) Planners do not promote alternatives to privately owned vehicles (59%)

10 Too Little Support For Child Care Most planners do not realize that there is an inadequate supply of quality, affordable child care. Most planners do not realize that there is an inadequate supply of quality, affordable child care. Only 14% of communities provide financial support for development or operation of child care facilities. There is money, but cities are not using it! Only 14% of communities provide financial support for development or operation of child care facilities. There is money, but cities are not using it! Only 5% of communities have a local child care plan. Only 5% of communities have a local child care plan.

11 Planners Identify Barriers They Can Address 66%

12 Challenges: Regulations, Finance, Opposition 45% 53% 56% 66% 68% 57% 63% 65%

13 Family Voices Are Needed The vast majority of planners believe that parents and citizen interests are needed to help communities become more family friendly. The vast majority of planners believe that parents and citizen interests are needed to help communities become more family friendly. But, 3 out of 4 communities do not provide child care for public meetings. But, 3 out of 4 communities do not provide child care for public meetings. Almost half do not encourage youth participation in the planning process. Almost half do not encourage youth participation in the planning process.

14 Family Friendly Branded Communities 41% of planners work in communities that brand themselves “Family Friendly.” 41% of planners work in communities that brand themselves “Family Friendly.” These communities are more likely to: These communities are more likely to: –include families in comprehensive plans –advance the interests of families in zoning regulations & site plan reviews –create better built environments, particularly housing –use a broad array of financial tools –involve families in planning process

15 We Have the Power: Change Is In Our Control! We need to be careful to build political support: We need to be careful to build political support: –Opposition may grow as we make real changes We must educate the public: We must educate the public: –Families are the most likely population group to reinvest in their community through time, money, and other forms of civic engagement. –Families are important to growth, sustainability, and diversity. They build vibrant communities.

16 What’s Next? PAS Memo on full survey results, Spring 2009 PAS Memo on full survey results, Spring 2009 Case Studies of Family Friendly Communities Case Studies of Family Friendly Communities Website – APA online forum? Website – APA online forum? Follow up with Carrie Fesperman, Follow up with Carrie Fesperman,


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