The Impact of Physical Design and Surrounding Land Use on Residents’ Perceptions and Attitudes Towards High Density Housing

Jeffrey George Ahonen, Wilfrid Laurier University


Studies of various types have indicated that high density housing and overcrowding may have effects on man’s well being and resident satisfaction. The study examines residents’ attitudes and perceptions of high density housing in two square mile tracts in the City of Kitchener. One tract is characterized by homogeneous land use; the other by mixed land use. Responses are obtained from sixty townhouse and sixty apartment units in each of the two sample tracts by use of a questionnaire. The data is analyzed using SPSS, a difference-of-means test and factor analytic work. It was determined that the variables physical structure and surrounding land use combine to play a major role in the residents’ evaluation of the urban environment. Residents tend to evaluate the environment along three major dimensions, and townhouse dwellers possess a different cognitive structure than apartment dwellers. The implications of the findings are examined.