Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How To Ruin a City

Want to ruin your city? It's easy. Just get rid of all those pesky houses and apartment buildings in the central business district and replace them with highways, skyscrapers, stadiums, and conference centers, forcing residents to flee to the suburbs. Bake for a decade and voila—you have one destroyed city. That's the finding of a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, which links population density at the urban core of metropolitan areas to their growth and prosperity. The researchers analyze population change in 180 metropolitan areas from 1980 through 2010 and find that the denser the population of the central business district, the more prosperous the metro. "We look at four decades of census data and show that growing cities have maintained dense urban centers, while shrinking cities have not," say the study's authors. They conclude:
"There are reasons to think that loss of population density at the core of the city could be particularly damaging to productivity. If this is the case, there could be productivity gains from policies aimed at reversing that trend."
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Urban Growth and Decline: The Role of Population Density at the City Core

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