Interesting point. While certainly some suburbanites who deplore any increase in density back home head off to rural oases like New Hampshire's White Mountains, many also do head to places like Wildwood Crest, N.J. - "where even the quietest blocks have a typical residential density of around 12 dwelling-units-per-acre." For some reason, what's not OK at home seems worth traveling to for vacation,=, Wanamaker notes:
"Parents who fight ordinances permitting 'dangerous' alleys at home let their children ride bikes alone through them at The Shore. Every block has a sidewalk used for short walks to shops, schools, churches, and of course the ocean. . . . Single-family homes sit snugly next to each other or next to townhomes, which often sit close to lowrise hotels. Sandwich shops without dedicated parking spaces are full of patrons all day. Most homes have porches and families wind down the day by sitting in them and waving to anyone who walks by. . . . They are things that planners struggle to convince towns to allow, yet are often denied by citizen groups who protest, citing concerns including…reduced quality of life."
Is this a case of what some people used to say about another tourist magnet, New York City: A nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there? Or is this a case where people really do enjoy traditional, more densely developed walkable communities without realizing it?
There's a difference between wanting to maintain a certain level of space and quiet in your community, because that's how it was when you moved there and that's the lifestyle you're hoping to maintain; and arguing that increased density will "destroy" quality of life, lower property values and cause all sorts of other problems. Personally, I'd like to live close to density but have quiet on my own block; who wouldn't? But density doesn't necessarily kill off property values. Beacon Hill is a lot more densely developed than, say, Hopedale, but it's pretty obvious which place has higher housing costs. Yes, there can be value in density, if done right.