Survey indicates Americans hope to see more investment in public buildings

The results of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA’s) first-ever survey of the country’s attitudes toward community buildings suggest a majority of Americans see public buildings as an important part of their community’s infrastructure. In fact, 83 percent of respondents reported exactly that, while 94 percent stated they see the maintenance of these buildings as important to their community’s future.

The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll, took place October 12 to 14 and gathered responses from more than 2100 Americans over the age of 18. It focused on opinions regarding public buildings such as schools, libraries, community centers, and parks.

Among the survey’s other major findings:

  • 83 percent believe investing in public buildings and investing in roads and bridges are equally important;
  • 69 percent say schools are among the most important buildings receiving consistent public funding, and for 48 percent, this is true of public housing;
  • 44 percent of women think public housing options are essential, while 34 percent of men hold the same belief;
  • on average, respondents believe 34 percent of public funds for community features should be allocated to public spaces, with the remainder divided between 37 percent for transportation and 29 percent for public housing;
  • 60 percent believe community buildings will lead to higher property values, while 62 percent believe they will improve education quality;
  • 70 percent say public buildings should be renovated;
  • 75 percent say public schools in good condition are essential; and
  • 78 percent believe local government should take financial responsibility for public building investment—61 percent believe this is true of the state government, while 53 percent think it of community members and 46 percent of private entities.

“The survey findings are a clarion call to policy-makers at all levels of government that Americans not only want safe roads and bridges, but also desire a serious financial commitment to public buildings that mirror and contribute to the communities in which they live,” says AIA president Russell Davidson, FAIA.

According to a study by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), many Americans would like to see investments made in public buildings like school and libraries. Photo © BigStockPhoto
According to a study by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), many Americans would like to see investments made in public buildings like schools and libraries.
Photo © BigStockPhoto

Davidson also spoke regarding the Summit itself, which comprises nearly 40 speakers and 350 attendees developing recommendations for the incoming presidential administration. He believes its purpose is to expand discussions regarding infrastructure so they include funding for public buildings.

“It is clear from the survey Americans consider investment in community buildings and spaces a priority,” says Robert Ivy, FAIA, CEO of AIA. “Not only do they believe that that investment would lead to improvements in property value, education, and public safety, but also serve to attract new businesses and enhance their overall quality of life.”

The results of the survey can be read here.

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