How residents of Great Britain choose where to live

A new study looks at why people live where they do in Great Britain:

Not surprisingly, the key things that matter to people about the neighborhoods they live in include a mix of housing costs, being close to family, and proximity to where they work. More than a quarter (28 percent) of respondents cited housing costs and proximity to friends as key factors in the neighborhoods where they live, followed by the size and type of available housing (22 percent), and proximity to their workplace or their partner’s workplace (21 percent)…

The full report offers this conclusion:

Where people choose to live is largely determined by their stage of life. Young people aged between 25 and 34 prioritise proximity to the workplace, cost of housing, and access to leisure and cultural facilities when choosing where to live. Those aged between 35 and 55 tend to value access to good schools, and the  size and type of their houses. And those aged over 55 prioritise access to countryside and green space.
These preferences help to explain the differing demographics seen across cities and their surrounding areas – different parts of cities are more able to offer amenities that are prioritised by people at different stages of their lives.

Overall, it sounds like two factors matter most even with the age differences: a favorable location in regards to social necessities (jobs and relationships) and good but affordable housing. Of course, obtaining these two goals may be quite difficult for many given that: families and friends don’t necessarily prioritize living near each other as opposed to living close to work or going where the jobs are, employers tend to be concentrated in certain locations, affordable and desirable housing can be very difficult to find in many popular areas, and consumers can’t exactly find housing that is everything that they want.

If age or life stage matters so much, should planners and others really go after lifestyle sorts of communities appealing to just one group or provide options for multiple groups within individual communities?

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