Commentary

This could be the biggest force driving gentrification

(WASHINGTON POST)  November 19, 2015 — When we think about the reasons behind the movement of younger, higher-income people into center cities — reversing the decades-long trend of suburbanization — lots of things come to mind. Urban crime decreased from the 1990s through the 2000s. The fertility rate sank, lessening the need for three-bedroom houses with big backyards. A new generation started to value walking and coffeeshops and communal public spaces, rather than out-of-the-way cul-de-sacs.

But according to a new working paper from researchers at Columbia University, one big factor looms larger than all others: The decreasing amount of leisure available to educated people.

“Long hours render non-work time scarce, planting low-utility activities such as commuting in the cross-hairs,” the authors write. “One of the simplest ways to control commuting is to live close to work, which for skilled workers may mean the city center. There, by definition, land is scarce and higher demand translates into higher land rents. In time, local amenities adjust, boosting the attractiveness of the locality, further fueling the gentrification process.”

Source: This could be the biggest force driving gentrification – The Washington Post