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Thread: The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

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    Default The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    Jonathan English
    Aug 29, 2019

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

    In 1994, Cesare Marchetti, an Italian physicist, described an idea that has come to be known as the Marchetti Constant. In general, he declared, people have always been willing to commute for about a half-hour, one way, from their homes each day.
    This principle has profound implications for urban life. The value of land is governed by its accessibility—which is to say, by the reasonable speed of transport to reach it.
    Even if there is a vast amount of land available in the country, that land has no value in an urban context, unless transportation makes it quickly accessible to the urban core. And that pattern has repeated itself, again and again, as new mobility modes have appeared. This means that the physical size of cities is a function of the speed of the transportation technologies that are available. And, as speed increases, cities can occupy more land, bringing down the price of land, and therefore of housing, in newly accessed territory.

    Keep reading: https://www.citylab.com/transportati...ign=pockethits
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    Moderator Julieanne's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    'And, as speed increases, cities can occupy more land, bringing down the price of land, and therefore of housing, in newly accessed territory." Can someone explain how this works? I don't really understand it.

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    Default Re: The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    Inventions like trains and automobiles enable people to choose to live well outside the crowded city and still arrive at work in under 30 minutes. When large tracts of land are broken into lot sizes, land becomes affordable even to the middle classes. Suburbs grow to encircle the city and still remain within that 30-minute limit for the commute. That's my understanding of it, anyway.

    I thought of the commuting time as an interesting yardstick to determine housing needs within and outside of city limits. I have never heard of population development described in this way.
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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    Over the past decade, Millenials have ditched the burbs and the commute (even their cars) to live in downtown, inner city near their jobs. As the largest generation in American history, millenials--generally--are better educated, better paid, less married, love city life, and can afford to live downtown. Many have ditched their cars for bicycles, and many want to live within walking distance of their job. It's true the technology (trains, subways, etc.) allowed cities to spread out, but as more and more people moved to the burbs the roads and highways became more congested. Millenials hate wasting their time sitting in traffic jams and polluting carbon emissions into the environment. Some experts predict the younger millenials may ditch the cities by 2035.

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    Veteran Member grulla's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    I was born in Manhatten, NYC. When I was 4 Y.O., we moved across the great waters to a far and distant land...Joisey. The northern New Jersey burbs is where I grew up and attended all my public schooling. We were always a hop, skip, and a jump away from Manhatten where "half" the population didn't, and probably still doesn't, own a car, and the subway system for them is everything, not to mention taxis, Uber, and busses. Also, a noticeable percentage of the population in NYC gets to ride in a police car. I still had quite a few relatives still living there at the time, CA 1960s.

    After graduating H.S., I continued my education back in downtown Manhatten at RCA Institute of Electronics for another 2 years, sometimes parking my car every day at the GW Bridge NJ side, hopping a bus across the Hudson River, and then catching the A Train subway (aka the 8th Ave. Express) at 168th St bus terminal to downtown 14th St. tech school location. Or sometimes I'd drive into Manhatten to school, and park at a 10th Ave & 14th St. paid parking lot, paying a guy that I wasn't quite sure if he actually worked there. lol All that nostalgia.
    Last edited by grulla; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    Since nearly everyone in the 5 boroughs is within a short walk of the subway or a bus, there's little need for a car. Schools don't close on heavy snow days because public transportation. It's said that NYers who buy a car gain 15 pounds in their first year. Of course, living in NYC, what you save on car ownership you spend on rent.
    ➤ Happiness is the frosting on the cake of contentment.

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