New Survey Reveals Support for Public Buildings

Dec. 12, 2016

94% of people surveyed say having well-maintained public buildings is important to the future of their community. 

A new survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) shows that 83% of Americans consider public buildings — schools, libraries, community centers, and parks — part of their community’s infrastructure, with 94% reporting of those surveyed say that having well-maintained public buildings are important ventures that are central to the future of their communities.

In a key finding for policy makers, 83% of survey respondents agreed that investment in these public buildings is just as important as investment in roads and bridges. The survey also found that seven in 10 Americans want their public buildings renovated, and almost three-quarters of Americans consider public schools in good condition a “must have” in the communities in which they live.

The aforementioned statistics are just a few of the major findings of the first-ever AIA survey of American attitudes toward essential community buildings. The survey results, conducted by The Harris Poll in October, were made public at the recent AIA Build America Summit.

"The survey findings are a clarion call to policy makers at all levels of government that Americans not only want safe roads and bridges, but also desire a serious financial commitment to public buildings that mirror and contribute to the communities in which they live," says AIA President Russell Davidson, FAIA.

Other key findings from the survey:

  • More than three in four Americans (78%) think their local government should take some financial responsibility for supporting the investment in their public buildings. Just under two-thirds (61%) think state government should take some financial responsibility. A majority (53%) think that community members should support it, and almost half (46%) believe private entities should also invest.
  • A majority of Americans believe that the condition of community buildings can lead to notable benefits, particularly higher property values (60%) and improved quality of education (62%).
  • 69% of Americans believe schools are one of the most important buildings to receive a consistent level of public funding.
  • On average, Americans feel about one-third (34%) of public funds budgeted for community features should be allocated to public buildings and/or spaces. Of the remaining, they would allocate 37% to transportation and 29% to public housing.
  • Almost half those surveyed (48%) believe public housing (defined as a combination of senior and affordable housing) is one of the most important community features to receive a consistent level of public funding.

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