AIA Survey: People Moving Closer to Metro Areas

Due to the prolonged decline in housing construction and increasing commuting costs, consumer preferences for community design is shifting away from areas removed from metropolitan hubs and toward infill sites that have greater access to public transportation options, according to a Dec. 9 press release from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Traditional neighborhood design with homes close to the street, sidewalks, and smaller lots is being replaced by developments focused around denser areas. With the struggles in the overall economy ongoing, households are also placing a higher emphasis on simpler exterior furnishings, with durability a chief consideration.

Billings at residential architecture firms continue to tumble, with the home improvement market flattening out as well. These findings are from AIA's Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2008 that focused on community and neighborhood design.

Mixed-use developments are still gaining in popularity, but at a slower rate than recent years because these additional uses may already be present in infill locations. The same holds true for dedicated open space and recreational facilities as part of existing developments for the same reason.

The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace. Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis.