The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Results from a national survey conducted in 2014 assessing the public’s support for open space preservation.

Open Space Connectedness Survey

The Center for Ecological Planning + Design and the Cicero Group partnered to determine the opinions and feeling of Americans regarding their connection to open space, psychological connection, and preferred methods of residential open space planning. We asked the following research questions:

  1. Is there a preference for development with a significant proportion of open space?
  2. Is this preference so important that city planners need to integrate open space into their planning and subdivision regulations?

The following is a summary of the Open Space Connectedness Survey results:

Americans feel a strong personal connection to open space. Most of the residents surveyed live within two miles of open space, and prefer to live in neighborhoods that incorporate large, shared open space areas. Only 22% of citizens say that open space is not a priority to them.

Americans have a significant psychological connection to open space. Over 80% say that open space is important to mental well-being. Nearly as many citizens also believe that proximity to open space correlates directly to good health.

Americans believe open space should be a part of all new residential developments. Citizens favor requiring all new residential developments to automatically incorporate open space but believe the amount of open space required should be determined on a case by case basis. There is strong support for prioritizing all four types of open space (recreational, ecological, cultural, and agricultural).

Americans favor requiring developments to include a significant amount of open space. Although Americans believe the amount of open space required in new developments should be determined on a case by case basis, just under half believe that requiring at least 50% open space in new developments is appropriate. Only a quarter of citizens believe that such a significant proportion of open space is inappropriate.

Americans believe local governments should integrate open space into their planning. Most citizens believe that development and conservation should occur together, that a lack of planning open space will prevent conservation, and that open space planning should be a priority for city governments.

Find the complete Open Space Connectedness Survey here.