Saturday, August 30, 2008

Signs of gentrification and local transportation choices

Curbed New York has been keeping tabs on gentrifying neighborhoods. Their metric used to indicate that a neighborhood is gentrifying is the presence of Smart cars. This is a novel way to estimate whether a neighborhood is received new investment, but it's not clear if the Smart cars are a sign of new people moving in who already had Smart cars or if the existing residents are investing in their community through these autos.
Obviously the Curbed coverage is tongue in cheek, but there may be something to the idea that certain types of neighborhoods will feature unusually high clusters of certain cars. Evidence of this type of clustering (such as Matt Kahn's work on neighborhoods that feature high numbers of Prius in the Bay Area) suggests that social factors are at play for transportation decisions.
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