Inactive by Design? Neighborhood Design and Political Participation
Critics have long denounced the design of suburban communities for fostering political apathy. We disaggregate the concept of suburban design into four distinct attributes of neighborhoods. We then use tract-level Census data, the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, and multilevel models to measure the relationship between these design features and political participation. Certain design aspects common in suburban neighborhoods are powerful predictors of reduced political activity, illustrating a potential link between neighborhood design and politics. Yet low-density environments appear to facilitate some types of participation. Suburban designs vary, and so do their likely impacts on political participation.