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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). https://doi.org/10.1038/s44284-024-00051-7


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Monday March 25, @03:14PM (2 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday March 25, @03:14PM (#1350268)

    And here we have an example of the classic Faux News consumer of hate, fear and outrage:

    >no one is going for a stroll when homeless are shitting in the streets and the sidewalks are full of tents. or fresh-releases from central american prison are wandering around looking for cars to break into.

    If you weren't concealed carrying a loaded Glock, you might be a little more at-ease with your fellow human beings in the urban cores and elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, the article is about exploration in diverse neighborhoods and the economic strength that exploration brings to the explored areas.

    In our current city of more than 1 million residents, our homeless tend to cluster downtown around the areas where they receive the best/most services, and yes: the least police harassment. They do scatter throughout the greater metro area begging at stoplights, but for the most part you won't find homeless encampments in the clusters of restaurant / nightlife areas.

    In our previous city of a bit less than 150K residents, many homeless were found right next door to one of the downtown restaurant / nightlife areas - coincidentally my work offices were upstairs from the restaurants there for several years. In four years, over 1000 working days, I believe I was panhandled in the parking lot less than six times - and I said no, and they politely moved on every single time. Around there a surprising number of transient homeless chose to camp out in the woods instead of dealing with the less predictable experience of services / harassment (by ordinary citizens more than police) in the city center.

    >fresh-releases from central american prison are wandering around looking for cars to break into.

    Evidence? As far as I know, in the US you've got better odds of winning the pick-6 state lottery than of getting your car broken into by a fresh-release ex-con illegal alien.

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  • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Monday March 25, @11:49PM (1 child)

    by darkfeline (1030) on Monday March 25, @11:49PM (#1350348) Homepage

    > If you weren't concealed carrying a loaded Glock, you might be a little more at-ease with your fellow human beings in the urban cores and elsewhere.

    What a befuddling take. People are uneasy because they can't conceal carry (that is, they cannot defend themselves), and are more at ease when they carry. See Georgia's recent law that holds facilities accountable for any crimes that happen if they ban guns (that is, they ban people from defending themselves and thus take on that responsibility).

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    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday March 26, @03:00AM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday March 26, @03:00AM (#1350370)

      >People are uneasy because they can't conceal carry (that is, they cannot defend themselves), and are more at ease when they carry.

      I know people who carry, I know people who don't carry.

      To a one, everyone I know who carries is wound tight and constantly considering whether or not now is the moment for them to end another human being's life.

      The people I know who don't carry rarely worry about it. Correlation or causation? Impossible to say.

      One "carrier" in particular who I knew for 35 years has a not-uncommon story: car accident at 40, chronic pain, alcoholism, addiction to opioids, actually "Baker Acted" (that's Florida-ese for arrested due to mental instability, danger to self or others) once spending two horrifying weeks fighting against the mental ward staff resulting in serious injury to himself (and "another day at the office" for the staff.) Luckily for the general population, he quit carrying his pistol around age 68 because "it is just too heavy" and replaced it with a tactical knife for his personal protection. Number of times this man was actually assaulted or even seriously threatened in his life? Zero.

      Then there were our elderly neighbors whose home was invaded in the middle of the day, the assailant beat 'em a little, tied 'em up then took their guns before driving off in their car... Number of times their "self protection" firearms ever protected them in their lifetime? Zero.

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