Chapter 7

Chapter 7
Land Use Patterns
• In this chapter we describe the spatial
distribution of employment and population
within urban areas
• This distribution was very different about 100
years ago. We explore the market forces behind
that change and the welfare consequences
A Monocentic City
A Monocentic City
• Cities looked very different 100 years ago:
▫ Cities had a unique center
▫ Jobs were concentrated near the city center
▫ Manufacturing firms located near railroad
▫ Office firms clustered in the CBD
▫ Workers lived in the city center and commuted by
foot or in the suburbs and rode street cars
Rise of the Monocentric City
• Innovations in production and energy increased
concentration of production in cities
• Required some means to transport workers to
factories and goods to markets
Rise of the Monocentric City
• Innovations in Intracity Transportation
Omnibus (1827)
Cable cars (1873)
Electric Trolley (1886)
Subways (1895)
Decrease in travel cost and increase feasible radius
Rise of the Monocentric City
• The Primitive Technology of Freight
▫ Intercity freight: manufacturers transported
finished goods out of the city through ship or rail
▫ Intracity freight: horse-drawn wagons were used
for transporting goods from the factory to port or
rail terminal
▫ Tied manufacturer to the central export node:
railroad terminal or port
Rise of the Monocentric City
• The Technology of Building Construction
▫ Balloon-frame building (1832), fastened with
cheap nails
▫ Office buildings: masonry to cast iron (1848, five
stories) to steel (1885, 11 stories)
▫ Elevator (1854): Intra-building price curve
inverted by elevator; upper floors rent at
premium, not a discount
Demise of the Monocentric City
• 100 years ago, the spatial distribution of
employment and population started to change
• Define
▫ A central city is the territory of the municipality at
the center of the metropolitan area.
▫ A Suburban area is the rest of the metropolitan
The Spatial Distribution of Jobs and
Distribution of
• Employment
• In 1948 jobs in central
city were twice those
in suburban areas
The Spatial Distribution of office space
Three employment
• Sub-centers: an
area with a
minimum of
10,000 workers
and 25 worker per
• Dispersed:
everywhere else
The Spatial Distribution of Population
• Central city share is 36%
• Suburban share is 64%
• The table below shows that urban population is
more decentralized than urban employment
Urban Density Worldwide
• Cities are defined
as areas of high
• Variation in
density of world
• US cities rank
The demise of the monocentric city
Decentralization of Manufacturing: Trucks and Highways
▫ The intracity truck (1910). Twice as fast and half as
costly as horse wagon.1910 - 1920: Number of trucks in
Chicago increased 800 to 23,000
▫ Tipping the balance away from central location. Truck
decreased cost of moving output relative to the cost of
moving workers. Firms moved closer to low-wage
▫ The intercity truck (1930s). Long-distance travel became
feasible. Improvement of intercity highways facilitated
truck transport. Truck freight grew at expense of
shipping and rail freight. Most manufactures oriented to
highways, not rail terminal or port
The demise of the monocentric city
• Other Factors in Decentralization of
▫ Automobile replace streetcars, increasing access
outside streetcar hub; highway sites accessible to
entire metropolitan area
▫ Single-story manufacturing plants cheaper in lowrent suburbs
▫ Air freight: orientation toward suburban airports
The demise of the monocentric city
• Decentralization of Office Employment
▫ Before 1970s: paper-processing back-office
operations in suburbs
▫ Electronic transmission of information allows
decoupling of office activities, with information
processors in suburb and decision-makers in CBD
The demise of the monocentric city
• Decentralization of population: Reasons
▫ Increase in income: ambiguous effect because higher
 Increases the opportunity cost of commuting, but also
 Increases demand for housing and land, pulling people to
low-price suburbs
▫ Lower commuting cost decreases the relative cost of
suburban living
▫ Old housing in center
▫ Central-city fiscal problems
▫ Crime
▫ Variation in education
Urban Sprawl
• Sprawl Facts
• 1950 - 1990: urban land increased 245%; urban
population increased 92%
Urban Sprawl
• The role of public policy
▫ Under pricing of commuting encourages long
▫ Mortgage subsidy increases housing consumption
▫ Under pricing of fringe infrastructure
▫ Zoning: Minimum lot sizes to exclude highdensity housing
Why is population density
higher in Europe?
• Higher cost of personal
• Higher gasoline taxes
• Higher sales taxes on automobiles
• Promote small neighborhood shops that facilitate
high-density living
▫ Expensive electricity and freezers?
▫ Restrictions on location and prices of large retailers
• Agriculture subsidies allow fringe farmers to outbid
urban uses
• Transportation infrastructure favors mass transit
Consequences of Sprawl
• Increased demand for public goods, e.g., highways and
• Environmental consequences: more emissions from energy
• Political consequences: increased dependence on fossil fuels
• Depletion of world reserves of fossil fuels results in a non
sustainable life style
• Loss of farmland can increase agriculture prices
• Inefficient to provide mass transit
▫ To support intermediate bus service, need 31 people per hectare
▫ Only New York and Honolulu have this density
▫ 60% of Barcelona residents within 600 meters of transit station,
compared to 4% of Atlanta residents within 800 meters of transit

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