More information and research is available in the Quality of Life Events
section, where you can view videos, listen to audio, and more from the foremost industry leaders and Smart Growth researchers.
What is Quality of Life? - 5 Guiding Principles for REALTORS® and Smart Growth
1. Provide Housing Opportunity and Choice - Homeownership is the cornerstone of the American dream and deserves a preferred place in our system of values as it contributes to community responsibility; civic, economic, business and employment stability; family security and well being. These objectives can be met through market-driven housing approaches that foster a wide-range of urban, suburban and rural housing choices at all price levels to suit a diverse population.
2. Build Better Communities - Real estate of all types flourishes best in livable communities that offer a high quality of life at a reasonable cost. Livable communities offer a variety of affordable housing choices, good schools, low crime, quality public services, efficient transportation systems, ample recreation and park areas, open space, strong employment base and an economically viable commercial sector. To promote these essential livable community elements, growth policies should encourage market-driven and culturally diverse growth patterns that sustain and enhance a community’s quality of life.
3. Protect the Environment - To maintain a region’s quality of life and to protect the environment, governments at all levels should consider policies and programs that aid the control of pollution; provide for programs that encourage preservation of natural resources, significant lands and properties of historic significance; and further encourage, through incentives, the protection of endangered species, aquifers, rivers/streams, agricultural lands, wetlands, scenic vistas, natural areas, and open space. Government must recognize the importance of local decision-making, private property rights, and the value of a healthy economic sector.
4. Protect Private Property Rights - Private property rights are fundamental to our free-market economic system and are protected by the 5th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution. The continued strength of our nation’s economy depends on the preservation of the right to freely own, use and transfer real property.
5. Implement Fair and Reasonable Public Sector Fiscal Measures To support adequately the infrastructure needs of communities resulting from growth, governments at all levels should cooperate in the adoption of balanced, fair, equitable and incentive-based approaches to finance and pay for the development, expansion and maintenance of roads, schools, water and sewer facilities. Revenue and financing mechanisms established to pay for necessary infrastructure costs should be shared proportionally by those segments of the population served by improvements.
Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
NAR's Blueprint for REALTOR® Action - Smart Growth Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is NAR taking a pro-development or anti-development position?
A. NAR's position is pro-community. How governments meet the challenge of rapid growth affects the very livelihood of America's REALTORS® and the vital interests of their customers, America's homeowners, property owners and tenants. Our role is to help communities managethe challenge of growth successfully through local decision-making, research, sharing of expertise, creative problem-solving and building community consensus.
Q. What can we expect local REALTORS® to do as a result of this initiative?
A. Our goal is to raise awareness among REALTORS® nationally, to urge them to become active in the local land-use planning process and, through their local, state and national associations, to provide resources to help policy-makers solve growth-related issues.
Q. Others have been active on smart growth for years. Why has it taken the REALTORS® so long to join the debate?
A. Individually and through their state and local associations and boards, REALTORS® have been active on growth and land use issues for decades. In hundreds of communities and dozens of states, REALTORS® have become outspoken advocates for policies that maintain the integrity of housing markets by preserving choice and affordability without compromising the qualities that make communities desirable. In 1999, the National Association of REALTORS® spent more than a year working on the question of growth and how communities are responding. The NAR program, established in 2000, focuses on providing education and advocacy resources to support REALTOR® associations at the state and local levels. Through the REALTOR® network of 1600 state and local associations and boards, NAR serves as a catalyst and resource to share expertise, research, training and other forms of assistance to participating state and local associations.
Q. How can communities resolve the conflicting concerns of first-time homebuyers who want affordability and choice, and those of existing homeowners who want a quality of life untouched by the negative aspects of growth?
A. These concerns are not necessarily in conflict. Our research shows that both homeowners and renters share virtually the same concerns. They want affordability, choice and a high quality of life. We believe most communities can reach a popular consensus on these issues through public education, discussion and planning. The key is to begin early, to anticipate growth pressures before they polarize attitudes and spawn such extreme policies as moratoria on development.
Q. Will you continue to measure public attitudes?
A. Yes. We will conduct national public opinion surveys annually. We will also assist state and local REALTOR® associations with surveying voters in their jurisdictions on growth and quality-of-life issues.
Q. Want are the important elements of the NAR initiative?
A. Through the REALTOR® network of 1600 state and local associations and boards, NAR serves as a catalyst and resource to assist interested state and local associations. Elements will include:
A growth management issues training programfor participating state and local association executives and for their members;
A program to measure and track public attitudes nationally on issues pertaining to responsible land-use.
A customized survey research program for participating state associations to use with state and local public officials and opinion leaders. Surveys will focus on measuring public attitudes on sensible development and implementation of land-use policies.
A REALTOR® magazine on land-use issues targeted to state and/or local public officials and opinion leaders in participating state/local boards;
A "quality of life" Federal lobbying and communications program.
Research on growth management and related issues and a land-use information clearinghouse on www.realtor.org
Establishing NAR as the leading land-use "voice" and authority among private and public official groups.
Implementing a long-term plan for the expansion of NAR's Land-Use Program, which provides REALTOR® associations with expert analysis of land use measures.
Providing customized state smart growth legislation, at the request of a state association, modeled to their specific legislative needs.
Providing information to assist local boards in identifying their Government Affairs representation needs.
Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®