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Household Lifestyles and Their Relationship to Land-Use and Transportation Planning

Krizek, Kevin J.

The idea that land-use patterns can influence people's behavior is popular in urban planning circles these days. Low-density development, single-use zoning, and cul-de-sacs are the targets of the attack against sprawl, auto-dependent travel, and even obesity. Compact development, mixed land-uses, and urban design improvements (e.g., sidewalks, street crossings, and smaller blocks) have all been put forth as ways to reduce drive-alone travel, spur transit use, and increase levels of physical activity. In response, local, state, and regional governments have begun actively promoting more compact and pedestrian-friendly community designs, and citizens, political leaders, and land-use and transportation planners have fervently embraced these concepts in the hope that such benefits will come to fruition. However, one needs to be mindful of the potentially false expectations such planning initiatives create, particularly concerning the potential for land-use planning, by itself, to significantly influence people's behavior. To help inform this discussion, this article examines the linkages between different dimensions of household decision making, including the types of travel residents engage in, the types of activities they tend to pursue, and factors affecting their choice of neighborhood. The author analyzes these and other phenomena in a synergistic manner to uncover what he refers to as different household lifestyles. Based on his analysis, he concludes that if spurring transit and walking is a primary goal of urban planning initiatives, it might be best to look elsewhere than strategies that exclusively rely on land-use and transportation planning.

CURA Reporter
Publication date: 
Minneapolis: Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), University of Minnesota.
Funded by a grant from CURA's Faculty Interactive Research Program.
35 (4): 3-11
Online availability
Download from CURA: 
CURA call number: 
Reporter 35 (4)