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First MAS Survey on Livability Finds Differing Views of City Life

New York is considered one of the most desirable places to live in the world, but how do city residents – those of us who brave the subways, crowded sidewalks and noisy streets each day – feel about life in the Big Apple? We released the first MAS Survey on Livability to find out what real New Yorkers think about their city.

Most New Yorkers like living in New York City and their neighborhoods so much so that, if given the chance to move, three out of four New Yorkers would stay in the city, and more than half would stay right where they are.

The survey, presented at the MAS Summit for New York, was made possible through the support of The Rockefeller Foundation. The findings were presented by MAS President Vin Cipolla and The Rockefeller Foundation Associate Director for New York City Opportunities Fund and Innovation Edwin Torres.

“On the surface, we see overall satisfaction with life in the city and city services, but there is some underlying discontent, especially among people living outside Manhattan and those with lower incomes,” Cipolla said.

For example, while there was overwhelming satisfaction with access to public transportation among city residents, services such as street maintenance and repair were rated fair to poor among a majority of residents in Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. Most New Yorkers felt their neighborhoods were not noisy, except for residents of Manhattan and the Bronx.

“This survey gives us a baseline read of attitudes for comparison in future surveys,” he continued. “It also will help inform the work of MAS, and should help other civic organizations and municipal government in developing strategies to promote a more livable city,” Cipolla said.

Some of the major findings of the survey are:

  • More than one-third of New Yorkers – and a majority in Staten Island – oppose any more housing development in their neighborhood;
  • More than 60 percent of New Yorkers favor more parks and green space in their communities instead of more retail or business development;
  • Most New Yorkers believe that items bearing a “made in New York” label means supporting the local economy, not paying more for the item;
  • With the exception of Manhattanites, most New Yorkers are dissatisfied with the variety of cultural and entertainment options in their neighborhood.

The survey was also featured in the New York Times yesterday.

The Marist Institute for Public Opinion conducted the telephone survey of 1,000 New Yorkers during the last week of September 2010.