One section of the 1973 Select Committee on Goals' report is the results of questionnaires sent to Amherst residents and Amherst Town Meeting members. Hindsight is always 20/20, but it seems like some of the failures of the SCOG plan could have been predicted by the results of the questionnaire. For example, here's the results for one of the questions about housing:
And here's another:
- What type of housing would you prefer?
- 78% single-family house
- 9% apartment
- 5% 2-4 family unit
- 2% mobile home
So, people back then wanted bigger single-family houses on quiet streets, on a bigger lot, with a bigger garage. That's basically the opposite of the "higher density Village Centers surrounded by open space" vision laid out in the SCOG plan.
- If you are dissatisfied with your present housing, indicate the four most important reasons.
- 14% too little space
- 9% noise
- 9% traffic
- 8% inadequate facilities
- 8% too close to neighbors
- 8% garage lacking or too small
- 7% physical condition of unit
- 6% too few bedrooms
- 6% too small yard
- 3% dislike neighbors/lack similar interests
- 3% too far from shopping facilities
- 3% too far from bus stop
- 2% lack of activity in neighborhood
- 2% too far from recreation facilities
- 1% too much space
- 1% too distant from public facilities
- 1% too far from place of employment
- .25% too far from neighbors
We're about to make the same mistake again. I bet most people in Amherst still want bigger, new houses on bigger lots on quiet streets, but Town Meeting will continue trying, and failing, to get people to want smaller houses on smaller lots close to Village Centers...