The new Saint Index© survey on U.S. attitudes toward real estate development finds the world’s largest retailer is no longer alone as the retail project Americans most oppose for their community.
Wal-Mart fell into a tie with a mall or large shopping center as the most opposed retail development project, reports Steve Shepherd, vice president and director of communications for The Saint Consulting Group.
Of 1,000 adults interviewed nationwide for the survey on attitudes about real estate development projects, 56 percent said they oppose a Wal-Mart development in their hometown — the lowest level of opposition in four years of Saint Index© surveys.
Two years ago, 68 percent of Americans said they’d oppose a local Wal-Mart project. Meanwhile, opposition to a local mall or large shopping center project fell slightly in the new results, from 58 percent a year earlier. Download SAINT INDEX 09Opposi#771F48 for a chart detailing public opposition to different types of development.
Whether America’s Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) activists actually are losing enthusiasm for fighting their most-hated retail enemy isn’t a sure bet, according to Patrick Fox, president of The Saint Consulting Group.
In an interview with Forbes.com, Fox cautioned against reading too much into the numbers, saying that people who support a Wal-Mart in theory can change their tune when one is actually proposed for their neighborhood.
And U.S. anti-sprawl activist Al Norman told Forbes.com that community resistance to Wal-Mart has spiked sharply, not dropped.
Landfills (78%) are the most-opposed type of local development project, followed by a casino (77%) and an aggregate quarry (62%), according to the new Saint Index©.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans say they are more likely to support new commercial projects in their hometown given the current economic situation.
Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) attitudes remain strong, however, with 74 percent of adults opposed to new development in their community.
‘’Twenty years of media reports chronicling community opposition to real estate projects such as big box stores have changed attitudes, and residents today believe you can fight development and win,’’ said P. Michael Saint, CEO of The Saint Consulting Group, which conducts the Saint Index© in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom to track attitudes about development and spotlight who actively opposes and supports real-estate related projects and why.
One in five American families have actively opposed a development project, the fourth annual Saint Index© found.
Asked what type of development project they’d most like to see in their community, one in three Americans (31%) said, “none” — by far the most common response.
“The influence of the recession on people’s willingness to support local development shows NIMBYism isn’t a totally knee-jerk response. It is possible to overcome,” Fox, the Saint Consulting president, said. “The problem for developers is that even good projects draw fierce opposition if neighbors are convinced their own property values will be hurt — and the politicians who decide what gets built listen to voters who elect them.”