Community and Neighborhood Design Remains Focused on Accessibility and Leveraging Existing Neighborhood Assets


WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 16, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — While the housing market recovery of the last few years has not resulted in a significant boom for neighborhood and community designers, work in the sector remains focused and strong. Leveraging opportunities in existing neighborhoods, both projects and designs aim for continuing to provide easy access to employment, transportation and connection with the larger community. At the same time, homeowners continue to favor contemporary styling – choosing low-maintenance materials for exteriors, flexible interior spaces and roofs with solar reflective characteristics.

Residential architecture firms across the country continued to report strong business conditions, bolstered by the above, as well as the continued popularity of infill projects. These findings are from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey for the third quarter of 2014, which focuses on community and neighborhood design.

“Through the continued demand for multi-generational housing, as well as more requests for better points of connection to the neighborhood at large, we can see that while residential design may not be as large as it once was, it’s still an area for true growth,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Taking into account the strong demand for rental units and a more modest demand for homeownership, we’re encouraged by the positive gains we’re seeing across the majority parts of this sector.”

AIA Home Design Trends Survey highlights

Community design elements 2014


Infill development 64%


Access to public transportation 54%


Mixed-use facilities 59%


Multi-generational housing 54%


More walkable neighborhoods 47%


Higher density development 49%


Popular Home Exteriors Features 2014


Low maintenance exterior materials 64%


Front/side porches 36%


Windows (number and size) 42%


Cool roofs 26%


Contemporary design 38%


Simpler exterior detailing 14%


Single story homes 19%


(% respond. report. popularity of feature “increasing” minus % report. “decreasing”; Q3)

Housing market business conditions

AIA Home Design Survey Index for Q3 2014 (any score above 50 is positive)

• Billings: 60

• Inquiries for new projects: 61

Baker noted, “While project inquiries and billings accelerated at a slower place in the third quarter, fewer than one in seven reporting firms reported a decline. Since scores have remained at 60 and above stretching back to 2012, and inquiries have remained at healthy levels, billings should continue to grow.”

Specific construction segments 2014


Additions / alterations 62%


Kitchen and bath remodeling 60%


Custom / luxury home market 35%


Move-up home market 30%


First-time buyer / affordable home market 2%


Townhouse / condo market 19%


Second / vacation home -5%


(% of respondents reporting sector “improving” minus % reporting “weakening”; Q3)

About the AIA Home Design Trends Survey
The AIA Home Design Trend Survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of over 500 architecture firms that concentrate their practice in the residential sector. Residential architects are design leaders in shaping how homes function, look, and integrate into communities and this survey helps to identify emerging trends in the housing marketplace. Business conditions are also monitored on a quarterly basis. Future surveys will focus on kitchen and bath trends (March 2015), overall home layout and use (June 2015), and specialty rooms and systems (September 2015).

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being.  Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit

Contact: Matt Tinder

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