Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Affluence Seeks Space

Just wanted to pass along this interesting graph with more evidence from several major cities that, as their wealth increased, their density decreased dramatically. This ties back to my earlier hypothesis (based on Europe and Japan) that, if a city can't provide that desired private space or access to it (via mobility), or if the space is unaffordable, then family household sizes are likely to shrink dramatically as economic development occurs and wealth increases, leading to a demographic implosion.

As an aside, it also gives me a better appreciation for some of the drivers behind the French Revolution: 100,000 people packed like sardines into each square-mile has got to be a powder keg ready to explode.

6 Comments:

At 11:24 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

-- As an aside, it also gives me a better appreciation for some of the drivers behind the French Revolution: 100,000 people packed like sardines into each square-mile has got to be a powder keg ready to explode. --

Neighborhoods in New York City with population densities near or exceeding 100,000 per square mile include Chinatown/lower east side, upper east side, upper west side, Stuyvesant town, and the Fordham/UHeights area. Let the revolution begin.

 
At 11:34 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...AND, the central Paris neighborhood that contains the Bastille (11th arrondissement) still has a population density of over 100,000 per square mile all these years later!

 
At 12:02 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Christopher Loyd said...

An entry regarding the French Revolution of 1789: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_revolution

Unless you are talking about the July 1830 Revolution, or the Revolutions of 1848.

Urban density may have played a part, but I would argue that poor finance management, popular resentment of the crown and the church, as well as starvation, played a much larger role.

Also, any data on the population density of South Los Angeles during 1992?

 
At 12:42 PM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous RedScare said...

This in no way proves, or even evidences your hypothesis, but I won't waste precious comment space by repeating the reasons why not here.

It does however, lend credence to the 'wealth decreases density' theory, most likely because wealth buys transportation.

 
At 12:55 PM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

-- Also, any data on the population density of South Los Angeles during 1992? --

South LA, where the riots happened, had a population density of 12,400 people per square mile in 1990.

-- It does however, lend credence to the 'wealth decreases density' theory, most likely because wealth buys transportation. --

Not sure about that. New York City's 5 densest districts, 4 of which are in Manhattan, all gained in density between 1980 and 2000. I would imagine that some if not all of these areas are wealthier now than they were in 1980, with all of the gentrification that's been going on there.

 
At 1:42 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

> Urban density may have played a part, but I would argue that poor finance management, popular resentment of the crown and the church, as well as starvation, played a much larger role.

Absolutely. Density just makes people riot a little easier (how many riots happen in the suburbs or countryside?), but they still have to have a reason.

> New York City's 5 densest districts, 4 of which are in Manhattan, all gained in density between 1980 and 2000. I would imagine that some if not all of these areas are wealthier now than they were in 1980, with all of the gentrification that's been going on there.

That is interesting. I wish there were a stat on sq.ft/person. I imagine NY is quite a bit looser about new skyscraper and residential development than Paris and London (which have height caps), so density can increase because of new buildings (or building conversions) yielding more sq.ft.

 

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