Places for Homes visualizes the limitations, opportunities, and tradeoffs in planning for homes. The following are our most overarching takeaways from this analysis, many of which do not come as a surprise.
Rare Features: Transportation Corridors, Sewer Service, and Broadband
The most desirable and rare feature for our homes are infrastructure for transportation, sewer service and broadband with the two latter of higher limitations. This suggests the need for efficient and coordinated planning of these services to ensure optimal benefit based on an informed understanding of available resources to maintain these services over time. Although there was not sufficient data to include public water systems, these systems also fall within these desirable and rare features. This need to consider public water systems is only emphasized by the 2020 drought where many residents with private well systems lost access to this basic resource.
Increase Mobility near Community Centers
Areas in or near community centers and major transportation corridors receive higher scores for residential suitability due to improved transportation access and mobility.
Dual Priorities: Ecology and Access
Priority lands for protection due to cultural or ecological significance sometimes overlap with high suitability scores for residential homes from other priority features. This suggests the need for coordinated planning to ensure we maintain and improve, rather than compete, in efforts for both our homes and our lands of cultural and ecological significance.
Access to Employment, Recreation and Services is Varied
Access to employment and services varies broadly across the region, yet still 30% receive an overall score of moderately-high suitability (6.5 and up). Access to employment received the highest median score while access to education the lowest. Recreation access is well dispersed across the whole region; however, access to employment, education and essential services are more clustered to the largest population centers, in particular the Connecticut River valley corridor that includes Hartford and Norwich VT & Lebanon and Hanover NH.
Opportunities for Revitalization Across the Regions
The high value clusters, 3 sq. mi. in each municipality, reiterate the importance of existing infrastructure. Other clusters highlight the importance of many variables for a home with some being opportunities for revitalization.
Some Communities Could Benefit from Closer Collaboration with their Municipal Neighbors
There are multiple high value areas seen in the Homes Landscape that coincide at the border of two communities, emphasizing the need for collaboration among municipalities and between two states.
Waterfront Properties are Popular and Risky
A significant percentage (30%) of new homes in the past decade was built in Non-Study areas, primarily in areas in close proximity to waterbodies. Given the desirability of waterfront properties, municipalities should understand and consider the benefits and risks of new development near our rivers, lakes and ponds, and enact appropriate regulations.
New Homes are Already Being Built in the More Suitable Locations
New homes from the last decade. Approximately 60% of new homes, were located in areas with moderately-high or high residential suitability (6.5/9 or greater). In contrast, only 38% of the entire Homes Landscape falls in this range. This correlation shows the model as a robust sky-level analysis for residential suitability.