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posted by hubie on Monday March 25, @03:49AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

The next time you're on a walk, consider stopping by that restaurant you've never been to or the local store you keep meaning to check out. They just might be the key to a vibrant local economy, according to a new study.

In a surprise finding based on anonymized cell phone mobility records, infrequent trips to places like restaurants and sports facilities—not the everyday office visit or school drop-off—accounted for the majority of differences in economic outcomes between neighborhoods.

The lesson for urban planners and individuals, researchers said, is to embrace the unusual.

[...] The activities with the strongest predictive power included French and New American restaurants, golf courses, hockey rinks, soccer games, and bagel shops. These kinds of activities accounted for just 2% of trips but explained more than 50% of the variation in economic outcomes between neighborhoods. Wang and his collaborators didn't initially expect these leisure activities to be so tied to local economic fortunes.

[...] "Those irregular and infrequent activities are correlated with explorative behavior, the tendency of some groups to seek out opportunities, connect with different people, and create new businesses," said Esteban Moro, Ph.D., a professor at Northeastern University, who co-led the study. "Looking at those infrequent activities, we are directly looking at current and potential economic opportunities in the future."

[...] What was most surprising was that trips to the office—where we earn our money—were not strongly associated with income or property values. Rather, it's how we spend our free time that drives the economic vibrancy of cities.

Journal Reference:
Wang, S., Zheng, Y., Wang, G. et al. Infrequent activities predict economic outcomes in major American cities. Nat Cities (2024).

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by krishnoid on Monday March 25, @03:57AM (2 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Monday March 25, @03:57AM (#1350211)

    "Hi, I always saw this place on my evening strolls and thought I'd stop in and check it out."

    "Um, do you want something to eat? We're just sitting down to dinner. You know, like almost everyone else in this extensive housing tract, or, God forbid, gated community. That would totally not be weird."

    "Depends, what's the special?"

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by JoeMerchant on Monday March 25, @02:59PM (1 child)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday March 25, @02:59PM (#1350267)

    There was a cigar bar one block off of Lincoln Road mall in Miami Beach (1990s), I was walking by one day, the door was open, I went inside and saw the owner/bartender sitting down to lunch. I asked: "Are you open for lunch?" He said: "Sure, come on in... the menu is limited, today's lunch is - basically whatever he was having." I said "Great." sat down, he brought me the sandwich and I think I had a beer, not sure. We talked a little, I ate, he rang up a bill at fair local market price and I thanked him and paid.

    About a week later I repeated the trip / lunch experience - we talked a little more in-depth, but same thing: good sandwich, good beer, good price.

    The next week I came by and the door was locked. I noticed there were no hours posted for lunch, oh well - Lincoln Road mall, lots of choices.

    The week after that I came by again, this time he was just cleaning up, I asked: "You're not really open for lunch, are you?" "No, but I'll make you a sandwich and serve you a beer if you like..."

    🌻🌻 []