What People Want In Their Homes and Communities
The NYT writes a front-page story about the growth in housing developments in the US in areas that were formerly “the middle of nowhere.” Beyond being generally interesting as a trend, I was intrigued by the (perhaps not novel but at least unique to me) teaser of how they are figuring out what to put into these homes.
One area in which KB Home takes pride is its market research. It asks things like where people want their kitchens and how much more of a commute they can stomach. And it surveys its own buyers to get a comprehensive idea of who they are and why they bought.
In its most recent survey of Tampa home buyers, KB asked people what they valued the most in their home and community. They wanted more space and a greater sense of security. Safety always ranks second, even in communities where there is virtually no crime.
Asked what they wanted in a home, 88 percent said a home security system, 93 percent said they preferred neighborhoods with “more streetlights” and 96 percent insisted on deadbolt locks or security doors.
So KB Home offers them all. “It’s up to us to figure out what people really want and to translate that into architecture,” said Erik Kough, KB’s vice president for architecture. And the company designs its communities with winding streets with sidewalks and cul-de-sacs to keep traffic slow, to give a sense of containment and to give an appearance distinctly unlike the urban grid that the young, middle-class families instinctively associate with crime. “I definitely feel safe here. I feel protected,” said Lisa Crawford, who moved to New River about a year ago with her husband, Steve, and their two children.
“And I can tell you that the people in Tampa are a whole lot different than the people here,” Ms. Crawford said. “In Tampa, there’s a faster pace. I like it here, that it’s more of a community, more of a small-town feel.”