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Posted on: October 27, 2023

City of Springfield releases results of housing study


After two public meetings, a public survey and a driving assessment of nearly 48,000 housing structures, City of Springfield Planning & Development staff and APD Urban Planning + Management presented the findings of the Springfield Housing Study and the recommended strategies for stabilizing and improving neighborhoods and housing.

Earlier this year, APD drove Springfield neighborhoods with a 360-degree camera, surveying nearly 48,000 housing structures to gather information about housing conditions, age and values; vacant buildings and lots; characteristics of the neighborhoods in each City Council zone; the gap between housing/rental prices and incomes; and the types of housing in Springfield.   


  • Springfield had a 5% growth in population from 2010 through 2020, with the largest age cohort between 20 and 29. The population of 65+ is projected to increase nearly 25% by 2030. 
  • The median household income is $37,491. The poverty rate is 22%. There is a mismatch between available housing and incomes, and first-time homebuyers are having difficulty affording a home.
  • Homeownership declined by 17% from 2010 to 2020. The home ownership rate is currently 42%.
  • 92% of housing in Springfield are single family residential. Current residential zoning is a major contributor to a lack of housing diversity. 
  • Some of Springfield’s rental housing stock is substandard. 
  • The most common multifamily housing type is duplex.
  • Multifamily homes are primarily located near Missouri State University.
  • 97% of all housing structures are occupied.
  • Vacant residential lots can be found in most neighborhoods.
  • 77% of all housing is in good condition.
  • 21% of all housing structures are in fair to worse condition.
  • 44% of all housing structures were built between 1950 and 1970. 
  • 21% were built between 1980 and 2020.
  • 30% were built between 1840 and 1940. 
  • Housing structures in Zone 1 (northwest quadrant of the city) have a broader range of conditions. 
  • Attendees of the February housing study community meeting listed townhomes, starter homes, workforce housing and tiny homes as housing types missing from Springfield neighborhoods. 
  • Attendees of the February community meeting listed the following as strengths of Springfield neighborhoods: neighborhood establishment, community engagement, historic homes, diversity in housing, neighborhood character, accessible/walkable communities, affordable homes, transit-oriented development, quality schools and parks/greenspace. 
  • Weaknesses were ineffective landlords, unaffordable housing, lack of viable rental housing, lack of variety in housing types, vacant housing, blight and decay, walkability/connectivity, development/preservation. 

Community input

  • 74% of those who took the online survey are in favor of regulating rental housing
  • 68% are in favor of new housing types
  • 61% are in favor of housing affordability assistance programs
  • 49% are in favor of new commercial development in neighborhoods
  • 45% are in favor of exterior maintenance programs
  • 44% are in favor of design standards for neighborhoods
  • 40% are in favor of tiny/cottage home developments. 

Recommended strategies

Neighborhood stabilization

  • Increase homeownership rate to 50%+
  • Expand homeowner education programs
  • Establish a land bank to acquire/hold properties (Note: This would require a change on the state level).
  • Encourage employer-assisted housing programs
  • Land use restrictions
  • Increase amenities in neighborhoods by renovating/repurposing vacant public buildings/lots; preserving/enhancing retail/service nodes and maintaining/upgrading neighborhood open space.
  • Increase community retention with adequate stock of starter/affordable homes while preventing gentrification (legacy resident displacement).
  • Providing property tax relief for seniors/disabled.
  • Increase neighborhood safety with Neighborhood Watch programs, expanded lead and asbestos remediation programs and code enforcement.

Neighborhood improvement

Increase connectivity by:

  • Completing trail connection
  • Building sidewalks in all neighborhoods
  • Implementing pedestrian/bike safety improvements
  • Expanding micro-transit options.

Encourage complete neighborhoods with:

  • increased street tree plantings
  • Encouraging construction of a wide range of rental housing, including new housing types/sizes in neighborhoods. 

Improve aesthetics and desirability with:

  • Prominently branded neighborhoods and by creating and adopting design standards.

Foster economic development by:

  • Developing workforce housing
  • Preserving and building neighborhood retail/service areas
  • Encouraging diverse housing types in high-opportunity neighborhoods
  • Offering split-rate taxes.

Improve public safety by:

  • Installing street lights where missing
  • Acquiring dilapidated/abandoned buildings
  • Increasing lighting in public alleys
  • Offering neighborhood clean-ups and discouraging illegal dumping
  • Promoting Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to residents.

Housing stabilization

  • Preserve housing with historic designation/protection, affordable housing preservation inventory, demolishing dilapidated structures.

Improve existing housing quality by:

  • Expanding/publicizing homeowner rehabilitation programs
  • Creating a pre-approved pool of contractors
  • Implementing energy improvement programs
  • Encouraging participation in Restore SGF Block Challenge Grant Program.

Improve rental housing quality by:

  • Adopting and funding a rental regulation program, target inspections and code enforcement more effectively, better code enforcement.

Housing improvement

Create funding strategies by:

  • Establishing lending partnerships, expanding funding for down payment assistance programs. 
  • Expanding funding for rental housing improvements
  • Expanding and promoting the community land trust. 

Download the presentation

View video

For more information, please contact Cora Scott at 417-380-3352.

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