NRG Research Group

NRG Research Group

April 16, 2009 08:01 ET

Calgarians' Love Affair With Cars and Single Family Homes Continues Despite Support for Densification

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 16, 2009) - This NRG Research Group Poll, conducted on behalf of the Canadian Homebuilders Association and UDI, was completed March 12 - 22, 2009 by telephone utilizing a random digit dial sample ensuring all adult Calgarians (in the city and surrounding area) had an equal chance of being selected. This representative cross section of 800 adult Calgarians is accurate within +/- 3.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. In other words, if the entire adult population of Calgary had been surveyed, the results of such a census would not differ from this poll of 800 residents by more than plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

According to a survey of Calgarians taken in March 2009, while there is some support for concepts like densifying the inner city and transit orientated development (i.e., greater density near LRT stations), most people still plan on using their cars in the next two decades and they want to live in a single family home.

KEY ISSUES

The wide ranging survey on growth and development issues started with quantifying the most important issues facing the City. Mobility orientated concerns topped the list, including transportation/transit (20%), infrastructure (19%), and traffic congestion (13%). Other key concerns included crime (17%), growth and development issues (13%), the economy (8%), jobs (7%), and healthcare (6%).

AWARENESS

Over half of Calgarians (57%) are aware in general about ongoing discussions regarding growth and development in the City, while just over one third (38%) are aware of Plan-It Calgary.

DENSITY

Attitudes toward increasing density are mixed. While almost three in four (73%) agree with transit orientated development and 57% with increasing residential density, opinion is more evenly split over restricting development on the edge of the city to encourage higher density (49% agree, 49% disagree). A slight majority (52%) disagree about restricting single family homes to encourage more density.

Support for densification is higher among people preferring to live in the inner city (71%) than it is among those wanting to live in the suburbs (who are evenly split for and against the idea).

HOUSING CHOICE

Calgarians overwhelmingly hope that their children will be able to live in a single family home (79%) and two thirds (67%) want to live in an area predominantly made up of single family homes. Bruce Cameron, Senior Vice President for NRG Research Group Alberta commented that:

"Despite support for the principle of densification, especially among fans of living in the inner city, most Calgarians still want their family and their children to live in a single family home."

CARS AND TRANSIT

More than four in five Calgarians (83%) expect to use their cars for most of their transportation needs in the next 10-20 years. That may explain the widespread resistance to the idea of limiting parking spaces to one space per home (70% opposed). There is also overwhelming rejection of the concept of setting vehicle and parking rates at a high level to discourage automobile usage (73% opposed).

SINGLE FAMILY HOMES

Seven in ten Calgarians currently live in a single family home (71%) compared to 16% in an apartment or condominium and 10% in a townhouse. Preference is also strongly tilted in favour of single family homes (72% versus 17% for condos and 10% for townhouses). Mr. Cameron noted that:

"Despite the best intentions of Calgary planners to increase residential density, it is clear that most residents are still in love with their single family home."

AUTO USAGE AND COMMUTING

The reasons for widespread opposition to measures designed to discourage automobile usage lie in the commuting and auto ownership patterns of a large proportion of the population. Two thirds of Calgarians (66%) use their own cars to commute to and from work or school, compared to 16% who use transit, 10% who walk or cycle, and 3% who carpool.

Not only do most Calgarians commute using a private car, two thirds (67%) have 2 or more vehicles in their household. Mr. Cameron noted:

"The high level of multiple car ownership in Calgary households should give planners pause when contemplating policies like one parking space per household in new communities."

About NRG Research Group

NRG Research Group is a private national market research and strategic planning company with more than 25 years of experience in qualitative and quantitative research in strategic communications. NRG Research Group consultants have designed and managed thousands of quantitative and qualitative research projects, including projects with local, provincial, national, and international scope.

See www.nrgresearchgroup.com for more information.

Growth and Planning Study

Most Important Issues Facing the City



What do you think are the most important issues facing the City of Calgary
right now?

Transportation/public transit, 20%; infrastructure, 19%; crime and violence,
17%; growth and development, 13%; traffic congestion, 13%; the economy, 8%;
employment/jobs, 7%; healthcare, 6%; taxes, 4%; city spending/budgeting, 3%;
environment, 3%; education, 3%; affordable housing; 3%

N equals 800


Awareness of Discussions on Growth and Planning



Recently there have been discussions about long range planning and
specifically how to deal with growth and development in Calgary. Have you
heard, read, or seen anything about these discussions within the past year?

Yes, 57%; no, 42%; unsure, 1%

Have you ever heard of the Plan-It Calgary initiative related to growth and
planning?

Yes, 38%; no, 59%; unsure, 3%

N equals 800


Agreement with Development Principles: Density



Do you agree or disagree with the statement... High density multi-story
residential development should be required near LRT stations.

Strongly agree, 38%; somewhat agree, 34%; somewhat disagree, 16%; strongly
disagree, 9%; unsure, 2%

Do you agree or disagree with the statement... Encouraging more high density
multi-family homes such as townhouses and apartment high rises is a good
thing for my community.

Strongly agree, 27%; somewhat agree, 30%; somewhat disagree, 18%; strongly
disagree, 25%; unsure, 1%

Do you agree or disagree with the statement... Development on the edge of
the City of Calgary should be restricted to encourage more high density
development in my community.

Strongly agree, 25%; somewhat agree, 24%; somewhat disagree, 24%; strongly
disagree, 25%; unsure, 3%

Do you agree or disagree with the statement... The number of single family
homes in Calgary should be restricted to encourage more high density
multi-family homes such as townhouses and apartments.

Strongly agree, 20%; somewhat agree, 27%; somewhat disagree, 24%; strongly
disagree, 28%; unsure, 2%

N equals 800


Support for Densification by Preference for Area of the City



Do you agree or disagree with the statement... Encouraging more high density
multi-family homes such as townhouses and apartment high rises is a good
thing in my community.

Percent that agree: total Calgary, 57%; prefer to live in inner city, 71%;
prefer to live in suburbs, 49%; prefer to live outside of Calgary, 51%

N equals 800


Agreement with Development Principles: Housing Choice



Do you agree or disagree with the statement... I hope that my children will
be able to live in their own single family home in Calgary.

Strongly agree, 51%; somewhat agree, 28%; somewhat disagree, 10%; strongly
disagree, 6%; unsure, 5%

Do you agree or disagree with the statement... I want to live in an area
that is predominately made up of single family homes.

Strongly agree, 43%; somewhat agree, 24%; somewhat disagree, 18%; strongly
disagree, 13%; unsure, 2%

N equals 800


Agreement with Development Principles: Cars and Public Transit



Do you agree or disagree with the statement... Calgarians will use their
cars for most of their transportation needs in the next 10-20 years.

Strongly agree, 43%; somewhat agree, 40%; somewhat disagree, 11%; strongly
disagree, 4%; unsure, 2%

Do you agree or disagree with the statement... I would be prepared to live
in a community that limits parking to one space per home.

Strongly agree, 12%; somewhat agree, 17%; somewhat disagree, 19%; strongly
disagree, 51%; unsure, 1%

Do you agree or disagree with the statement... Parking and other vehicle
costs should be set at a high rate to discourage automobile use.

Strongly agree, 10%; somewhat agree, 16%; somewhat disagree, 24%; strongly
disagree, 49%; unsure, 1%

N equals 800


Actual Versus Preferred Dwelling



Type of dwelling living in currently

Single family home, 71%; apartment or condo, 16%; townhouse, 10%; mobile
home, 2%; refused, 1%

Preferred type of dwelling to live in

Single family home, 72%; apartment or condo, 17%; townhouse, 10%; mobile
home, 0%; refused, 1%

N equals 800


Auto Use and Commuting Habits



How people commute

Own car, 66%; public transit, 16%; walk or cycle, 10%; carpool, 3%;
refused, 5%

Profile of household: Number of Cars

0, 4%; 1, 28%, 2, 45%, 3+, 22%

N equals 800

Contact Information

  • NRG Research Group - Alberta
    Bruce Cameron
    Senior Vice President and Managing Director
    (403) 209-4110 or Cell: (403) 850-4068
    Email: bcameron@nrgresearchgroup.com