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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 cereal_burpist on Tuesday March 26, @04:16AM (1 child)

    by cereal_burpist (35552) on Tuesday March 26, @04:16AM (#1350382)

    They have time to vegetate in front of the TV or Netflix for a few hours every evening. So I think it's more of a time-management and/or lifestyle-choices issue.

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  • (Score: 2) by Unixnut on Tuesday March 26, @01:24PM

    by Unixnut (5779) on Tuesday March 26, @01:24PM (#1350407)

    Well, that is why there are two reasons in my original post. There are people with time but not the disposable income for going around trying new places. Again I am not sure how it is in the USA but on this side of the pond there are ~70 free TV channels available, meaning that watching TV is one of the cheapest forms of entertainment available.

    Those with time and disposable income can indulge in "exploration", and if out of this group there are those who like to sit and vegetate in front of the TV then I agree that is a lifestyle choice, as they have the means to do other things.