Urbanites across the country agree on a few things: they want great food, they love waterfronts, and they value historical architecture. As planners and designers, our job is to understand what people want and balance these desires with the big picture—economic realities, cultural needs, environmental concerns, and design opportunities—ultimately helping to shape a more satisfying and sustainable urban experience.
Our new report, The State of the City Experience, outlines the results of a survey of 1,000 people who both live and work in one of six dynamic US cities—Boston, Chicago, New York, Austin, San Francisco, and Washington DC. We asked what they like and what they don’t like about their built environment in four key areas: architecture, activities, parks and open space, and transportation, and what their personal outlook is for staying in a city long-term. Our participants’ answers show that while we may be in the “century of the city,” there is still much work to be done to improve urban life through thoughtful planning and innovation.