Survey: Hillsborough quality of life sinking
For the seventh consecutive year, the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission conducted an annual Quality of Life survey. Citizens evaluated 18 quality of life factors based on their perception of that factor compared to last year. Most of the 18 factors received lower scores when compared to the initial survey. This means respondents have a lower perception of their quality of life over time.
Overall, between 2002 and 2007, the quality of life score dropped from 3.00 to 2.73.
Unsurprisingly, in the new survey "economic opportunities" was the lowest scoring factor. In 2005 it ranked third. Also of note in the survey:
* "Growth management" and "affordable housing" were the lowest scoring factors and remain well below the scores from the initial survey in 2002. When asked which factors should receive more attention in 2008, respondents said the "transportation system" and "education system."
* "More than 73 percent of respondents believe residential construction should be encouraged in vacant, urban areas to shorten commutes and decrease traffic congestion."
The survey helps the planning commission understand the concerns of Hillsborough County residents and how those concerns could be addressed in local comprehensive plans. Surveys were mailed in January to 10,000 randomly selected registered voters in Hillsborough County.
Comparison of Quality Scores
Average Quality Score
Economic Opportunities* 2.63 2.76
Education System* 2.74 2.84
Transportation System* 2.59 2.79
Local Government Utilities 2.87 2.81
Local Government in Our Lives* 2.74 2.84
Environment/Natural Resources* 2.58 2.75
Government Services* 2.90 3.02
Growth Management* 2.42 2.55
Race/Religion/Ethnic Tolerance* 3.04 3.12
Security* 2.72 2.89
Healthcare 2.44 2.38
Non?Govt. Social Services 2.98 2.97
Entertainment* 3.21 3.43
Neighborhood/Family Support* 2.90 2.99
Public Parks and Recreation* 3.00 3.24
Affordable Housing* 2.30 2.94
Historic Preservation* 2.96 3.11
The Arts* 3.03 3.18
Overall Quality of Life* 2.73 3.00
* Denotes perceived statistically less favorable in 2007 than in 2002.
Separately, residents were asked their opinion on statements related to sustainability and growth. Seventy-seven percent of respondents agreed the best, long-term solution to reduce traffic congestion is expanding public transportation, including commuter rail. When asked to rank sustainable transportation solutions, “building new roads” was ranked lowest.
--Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist