Moral intuitions and smart growth: Why do liberals and conservatives view compact development so differently?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Political liberals are significantly more supportive than conservatives of walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, transit-oriented development, and other aspects of the "compact city," not just in their views about government policy toward metropolitan development but also in their consumption preferences regarding neighborhoods. I argue that social psychologists' theory of moral intuitionism helps account for these differences. In this view, liberals and conservatives emphasize different sets of affective, emotion-laden moral impulses-such as those involving fairness, purity, or ingroup loyalty-predisposing them toward particular reactions to compact development. Political ideologies also are associated with different personality traits that are relevant to opinions on the built environment. To explore the intuitionist hypothesis, I review qualitative accounts that suggest an association between certain moral worldviews and attitudes toward development patterns. I then conduct multivariate analysis of a public opinion survey that contained questions relevant to moral foundations and to views on compact development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-108
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

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