The Saint Index: United States, 2011



Quantifying and tracking attitudes towards real estate development.

Support & Opposition

Landfills, casinos and rock quarries are the most unwanted types of development projects when Americans consider their hometown.  Notable shifts are happening when it comes to certain types of projects, however, especially Walmart.

Over the six years the Saint Index has been conducted, Walmart has gone from the most-opposed type of local retail project to just 50 percent opposed  (47 percent support). In urban areas, where Walmart has had the most difficulty locating new stores, the survey found more support than opposition — 47.2 percent opposed vs. 49.6 percent support.

Opposition to a mall or large shopping center, a big home improvement store like Lowe’s and Home Depot, and a large department store like Target all decreased to the lowest levels they have reached in the six years of Saint Index surveys.

SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION: By Project Type

Aggregate Quarries | Biotech Research Facilities | Casinos | Department Stores | Grocery Stores | Home Improvement Stores | Hospitals | Landfills | Large Retail & Shopping Centers | Office Buildings | Power Plants & Utilities | Wal-Mart

SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION: Trends and Demographics

Aggregates
The Saint Index findings  send a message to quarry developers: People are ready to believe the worst about an aggregate operation. If you want to open or expand where it might be controversial, reach out to the community and neighbors quickly with accurate information, then build a network of supporters. For the sixth-straight year, a quarry is the third-most-unwanted type of local project.
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Casinos
Opposition to a local casino development has remained formidable since the first Saint Index. A sharp decline in opposition recorded in 2007 quickly bounced back and has remained steady for the past four years. A casino is the second least-wanted type of local project.
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Walmart
Walmart has gone from the most opposed retail project just a few years ago to nearly an even split between support and opposition for a local project. Suburban residents are most opposed to a local Walmart project (55.8 percent vs. 41.4 percent support) and rural residents most supportive (45.7% opposed vs. 52.3% support).

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Target, K-mart
More Americans now say they’d support a large store proposal, such as Target or K-Mart, than oppose one in their community. That continues a drop in opposition that began in 2009.
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Grocery Store
A supermarket is the most-supported type of local retail project, according to what Americans consistently say. Nevertheless, such development proposals frequently encounter neighborhood resistance.
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Home Improvement Store
Big box home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s face should be facing less local opposition to new store proposals. Americans have moved from 55 percent opposed to such a local project six years ago to 57 percent support.
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Hospitals
New hospitals and expansions can draw more opposition than a supermarket proposal. Competition among medical facilities — both non-profit and for-profit — is often intense.

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Landfills
Landfills are the most reviled type of local land use proposal, leading the list of most-unwanted local projects for the past six years.

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Shopping Mall
Shopping malls continue to slide out of favor. A shopping mall or large shopping plaza drew the most opposition of any retail project in the 2011 Saint Index.

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Office Building
Support and opposition to a local office building project is unchanged from last year, with 56 percent of Americans saying they’d support office building construction in their community.

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Power Plant
A local power plant project draws more opponents than supporters, but opposition has fallen since 2007.

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