When immigrants arrive in the United States, their search for a new home represents a transformative personal and
cultural journey. This paper investigates this transformative process in relation to Smart Growth principles around walkability
promoted by a suburban county in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This survey of immigrants from various
countries in Asia and Latin America, finds that seventy percent of those who emigrated from urban environments
prefer to live in single-family detached houses. Survey participants from Latin American countries prefer these homes
in compact urban locations more than Asian immigrants and native-born Americans, while Asians prefer suburban
neighborhoods with pedestrian amenities. Their preferences represent a hybrid version of the American dream which
combines both the urban and suburban imaginary, or what this article terms "sub-urban" preferences. This study
emphasizes that walkability is critical to immigrant sub-urban preferences and ought to influence the way professionals
design and plan neighborhoods and housing.
Keywords : Immigrants, Walkability, Smart Growth, Suburbs, Washington, DC.
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