Public Support for Real Estate Development Rises Due to Pandemic



CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts., July 8, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Public support for real estate development skyrockets during the pandemic, according to a survey by combine, a technology company that fosters community engagement in development and planning.

IN interview, the second in a series that will become an annual one, has revealed noticeable shifts in sentiment between March 2020 (pandemic start) and May / June 2021 (pandemic decline). Most of the shifts were in favor of development, although many respondents expressed concerns about overcrowding and affordable housing, even condemning the lack of housing affordability.

Below are selected highlights from the survey report that is available for Download here:

Development points of view and priorities

  • 58% of respondents in 2021 described themselves as “supporters of development”, compared with 49% in the 2020 survey.
  • Respondents who described their community as “urban” or “diverse” were more likely to support development (almost 62% in both cases).
  • Only 40% of respondents supported the idea of ​​increasing density with new apartments or taller buildings, although this percentage rose to 54% among respondents who described themselves as “development advocates”.

Affordable Housing

  • In this year’s survey, many more respondents identified affordable housing as a real estate development advantage, raising it from the fifth largest advantage in 2020 (32%) to the second largest advantage (46%). The most frequently cited benefit in both surveys was economic growth, which was chosen by almost 58% of 2021 respondents and almost 48% of 2020 respondents.
  • Support for affordable housing varied across recipients. The respondents most welcomed affordable housing for veterans in their area (almost 71%), followed by the elderly (almost 70%). “Low-income housing” was much less popular, with only 52% of respondents welcomed it. However, only 38% described their community as accessible.

Limited success of virtual public meetings

  • More than 60% of respondents agreed that virtual community meetings are more convenient than traditional face-to-face meetings, and 57.17% said that a virtual format would increase the likelihood of attending them. But despite this, since the beginning of the pandemic, only 36.22% of respondents have attended a meeting of the virtual community.
  • 87% of respondents said they would prefer to provide their feedback on development projects without attending public meetings, be they virtual or in person.
  • When asked where they get information about community development in their area, the most selected answer (over 30%) was social media.

“Like so much else, during the pandemic, people’s attitudes towards development clearly changed, and I see many of these changes as positive,” says Karin Brandt, CEO and founder of coUrbanize. “For example, more and more respondents are recognizing the economic impact and improved quality of life that development can bring to neighbors if done well.”

She continues: “However, despite the general positive, the survey shows that NIMBYism exists even among proponents of housing development in terms of affordable housing and population density, and indicates that public gatherings are not the best way to solve these problems. I recommend that developers think less about this. traditional methods of educating local communities, addressing concerns about issues such as overcrowding and traffic. Technology is allowing more people than ever before to participate in this process. The wider the participation, the more benefit developers, municipalities and the communities they serve. ”


This year’s poll, which was conducted over a two-week period in May and June, collected 1,087 responses from US residents from a wide variety of demographics. The previous survey was conducted over two weeks in early March 2020 and collected 1,073 responses.

About coUrbanize

coUrbanize empowers people to share their feedback and speak up during development or community planning without having to go to a meeting – simply by posting a comment online or texting their ideas – and maintaining a two-way dialogue with the project team. More than 400 development and real estate teams have used coUrbanize to reach greater public outreach, communicate more productively with the community, and ultimately provide critical support for their projects. For more information please visit

Media contacts

Rachel Antman
[email protected]

SOURCE coUrbanize, Inc.

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