Conversely, the most expensive houses (aside from the ones up on hilltops with nice views) are generally on the south of the main island. You've got mountains to your north and the ocean to your south. So in the summer, when prevailing winds come from the south, you get a clean ocean breeze. In the winter, when prevailing winds come from the north, you get all of mainland China's factory pollution plus all of Hong Kong's car and power plant exhaust blowing in your direction --- but you're protected by the mountains, so most of it goes around you and blows out to sea.
I was in HK only once, for three days, so my experience is extremely limited. But it was my understanding that the local culture doesn't do a lot of cooking in the home, they generally eat out. The one apartment that I saw didn't even have a real kitchen.
Almost every other article of this kind is so incredibly long that it feels like a game of "spot the explanation".
I just found this interesting (and hideously formatted) PPT deck from the University of Washington that explores the topic further: http://faculty.washington.edu/morrill/papers/Gentrify.ppt
He definitely compiled some very useful data. I'd argue that the tool failed; he didn't fail the tool.
 D.O.B. 1934 per http://faculty.washington.edu/morrill/
edit: funny, I just realized I only live about two miles from the PPT deck's author.
Views seem to be a powerful anchor for property values, to start with. Which is why you get dicier areas like the Rainier Valley, and multi-million-dollar homes just over the hill on either side.
Another interesting thing is that the hill to the west of downtown, which should be the most expensive part of the city if it followed some European city pattern (it has a beautiful view, and even a golf course), is actually one of the poorest (same for Río de Janeiro, which has the "favelas" in the hills IIRC).
Generally I would say that the desirability of certain areas comes down to :
- topography (low, hot bad, hilly, views, breezes good)
- orientation : people (in general) like to live on or near the water, assuming the water is clean. Areas that face into hot sun are less desirable.
- history : sometimes older parts of cities have bigger houses and land, and are more established.
Historically (in the 1880s), the western suburbs were where the working class lived, and where heavy industry was located.
Today, the majority of the wealthy suburbs are still east of the city - Toorak, Camberwell, Kew, Hawthorn etc.
I also have a friend who never liked them, because in one of their songs they list everyone they hate, and it includes 'anyone called Trevor' : this is my friends name.
TISM : the original acquired taste.
I think that in Australian cities factors other than wind direction have a larger influence.
Sydney, the further west you go, the worse it gets. The population center of Sydney is actually 10km west of the city. Pretty much all the nice suburbs are either East, or North.
Agreed. Here (Twin Cities of Minnesota) the location of lakes and rivers has much more to do with what areas are the wealthiest. The wealthiest towns are west or southwest of Minneapolis, terribly located for prevailing winds or for commuting without the sun in drivers' eyes.
In Brisbane much of the east of the city is taken up by port and airport, so not such a desirable area.
I go directly north.
Missing from the article, it seemed to me, is evidence of the claim that the east side is generally poorer. I mean, that seems to jive with my anecdotal experience and the explanation for the phenomenon makes intuitive sense, but is there any hard evidence for this statement?
Here's a 1999 map of median per capita income by census track: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/su/maps/percapitaincomecity199...
Note that Chicago proper is outlined in bold. While the southern shore is poorer and more easterly than the south loop/downtown/north shore areas, I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that the east side of Chicago is poorer than the west.
Also of note, the north and east is not only where the rich people in Chicago live, it is simply where the people in Chicago live. I wasn't able to find a raw population distribution map, but here's one showing multi-unit vs. single family homes: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/su/maps/dwellingtypescity2000....
(FWIW, I lived on Chicago's south east side for ~15 years. Depending on what you are looking for it is one of the best and most unappreciated areas of the city.)
Same for the non-San Jose parts of Silicon Valley: Palo Alto and Mountain View are ritzier than neighboring Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. I don't know enough about San Jose itself to say, nor about San Francisco. In SF, though, it seems like many of the ritzier areas (Pac Heights, Marina, Marin) are to the north.
NYC is a notable exception: Harlem and the Bronx are in the north, while SoHo, Tribeca, Greenwich Village, etc. are all in the south.
I've never understood why South San Francisco is quite so neglected while commuter cities like Redwood City do so well. It's literally the next-closest town, why is it not super-expensive there?
For the neighborhoods of southern San Francisco, you are looking at historically highly industrialized areas. White collar workers didn't want to be there and ended in San Mateo County.
For South San Francisco, I disagree on it being neglected. Sure it isn't as rich as Redwood City, but it is a far cry from say East Palo Alto or Richmond. (You can also note the many luxury apartments and high-end office buildings popping up). Like southern San Francisco, it historically was hurt by being, as the San Bruno Mountain sign reminds everyone, the industrial city.
While westerlies may have caused dislocation during a certain time period, most major cities have experienced other events which have also had a significant impact on their demography.
In other words, the most northern parts of the island are also the most eastern, so it currently fits the pattern quite well.
While easterlies may have caused dislocation during a certain time period, most major cities have experienced other events which have also had a significant impact on their demography.
South LA is about 20 minutes from the ocean, by car. I would generalize that any part of Los Angeles that's further than 15 minutes from the ocean or the mountains (there are several mountain ranges to choose from) is relatively poor.
The article would be much stronger if there was some quantitative backing of the assertion that east sides are poorer.
Most of the majorly polluting industry is just off the east side of downtown Montreal.
(OT: more than 1 Uruguayans on HN, on the same thread? Nicolas Jodal pointed me towards here, you?)