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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: 2) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Monday March 25, @03:27PM (2 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Monday March 25, @03:27PM (#1350273)

    but I never buy shit I don't need on a whim.

    I guess I'm not vibrating the local economy...

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  • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday March 25, @03:41PM

    by acid andy (1683) on Monday March 25, @03:41PM (#1350275) Homepage Journal

    No, you're doing it right. Consumerism is destroying the planet.

    --
    Consumerism is poison.
  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday March 25, @03:53PM

    by VLM (445) on Monday March 25, @03:53PM (#1350280)

    The irony is the $1 I spent on gas to drive out to the local hiking trail causes more economic growth AND less environmental degradation than buying $20 of overpriced coffee and bagels at the vibrant local shop.

    But a healthy hike in the woods on the trail is doubleplusungood because it's not mindless consumerism which is inherently unquestionably always good, therefore I should make up for it by buying $19 of collectible bobble heads at the vibrant bobble head shop on the way home. I chose not to.