University of Vermont

RAN: Redesigning the American Neighborhood Project

RAN survey

Homeowner Survey

In March-April 2004 we conducted our first survey of the citizens living in Butler Farm / Oak Creek Village. The survey was developed with three goals in mind:

  1. to understand how people perceive stormwater issues and determine what they know about stormwater related problems;
  2. to collect information about the behavior patterns and daily practices related to stormwater in the neighborhood; and
  3. to evaluate the overall level of environmental awareness and willingness to act and/or change the neighborhood.

We discussed the questions in the survey with the group of neighbors who volunteered to help us on the project. The group was very helpful in framing some of the questions in a way that the residents could better understand and give clearer responses. The neighborhood group volunteered to help us distribute the survey. It was agreed that if the survey was regarded as a neighbor-to-neighbor activity, we could expect higher return rates.

We received 99 completed surveys out of 200 (nearly a 50% return!). The survey will also serve certain educational purposes, as it makes people think about issues that they may not have been considering before.

We have found that stakeholders report a very high environmental concern and have a much higher than average educational level. We may hope that if the project is successful, the residents may become instrumental in disseminating the findings to a broader community. However, so far the higher educational level does not necessarily translate into more benign stormwater related practices. We hope the survey can help us start a dialogue to get more people involved in the decision making process.

It was also found that only 5% of the residents were expecting any flooding problems on their properties, even though the geomorphology of the site shows a high risk of flooding. The residents so far are mostly concerned with the local flooding problems and are less involved in the broader stormwater issues. They are more willing to adopt certain "good" stormwater practices rather than contribute their time and money to solve the problems. At the same time the majority are expecting large-scale engineering solutions to be key rather than small-scale interventions. Apparently this also means that they are expecting external sources of funding for this kind engineering.

2004 Survey Results (pdf)

2007 Survey Results (pdf)

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Last modified October 16 2009 10:29 AM

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