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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 VLM on Monday March 25, @03:45PM

    by VLM (445) on Monday March 25, @03:45PM (#1350278)

    single use residential areas are a drain on city coffers and are not sustainable in the long run

    Why is it repeatedly across the country so incredibly successful with such high property values and intense purchasing demand, compared to the small fraction of land that's mostly empty for mixed-use developments? Most responses I've seen historically, devolve into conspiracy theory and devoutly stated quasi-religious belief.

    Why isn't mixed use successful, beyond a very small percentage of land use, is a better question.

    Simply repeating that it's better financially and has a better lifestyle apparently does not make people it, but they've been beating that drum for several generations now, always unsuccessfully.

    There is also a problem with scale. Let's say the actual market demand is 2% mixed use and 98% single use. I do believe and agree that if 1% of the local real estate market is mixed use, developers do need to explode growth by 100% to meet the market need. The 'problem' is even after that 100% growth, 98% of the population still will not want to live there, and economic bubble people being the bubble-people trend followers they are, they will almost certainly build 4% mixed use and 96% single use developments, leading to the entire mixed use "industry" collapsing because the financial don't work out when they are 50% empty and unsold. Thats where we are where I live, we have a massive oversupply of mixed use that's empty and failing and going back to the banks.

    You can build it, but they won't come, and even if they do come, there aren't that many of them. Its like the ultraluxury condo problem where every developer thinks they're going to be the "one" who sells the $2M condo to the local CEOs. The problem is, followers being followers, they're all trying to sell to the local CEOs, so luxury condos are like 75% vacant in the closest major downtown area. Everyone wants to sell to those guys and milk those cash cows, but there aren't enough cash cows to go around, so they're all going out of business together.

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