So they buy/beg data for 382 "community zones" from walkscore.com, do linear regression, and find a correlation. Then they get funding to do an individual-level survey and there's no correlation. And it doesn't appear in South Korea either.
Their explanation is some statistical magic to pull out a "sense of belonging" as a mediating factor and a statement in the conclusion that "It may be that walkability is an emergent property most clearly visible at the level of aggregate, not at the level of each individual."
No discussion of data accuracy besides noting that even perceived walkability and actual amount of walking are barely correlated in their surveys (i.e., their data sucks).
Interesting paper idea, but the implementation seems like more statistical garbage.
As an outsider to the American tax system: is this a strong selection that could impact results? Here in Germany for example filing is optional for a lot of people (not just legally, but also in terms of expected returns) which would have quite unpredictable results on a study like this.
Excludes recent immigrants or orphans then, both of which groups could be particularly acute case-studies of upward mobility.
Big picture though, walkability and public transport definitely imply at least the potential for interaction and empathy, and cars the opposite.
The Highway and Automobile culture are symbols of totalitarian cultures which deny people more sustainable and equitable alternatives for mobility and transport. - Vandana Shiva, February 19, 2004.
Has anyone on HN paid US taxes living abroad?
You will have to pay some tax if you work in a country whose tax rates (for your bracket) are lower than US federal tax rates. That can be the case for Americans working in places like Hong Kong or the Bahamas.
Cars are pretty expensive to own and operate. Mr. Money Moustache is constantly railing against them - https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/22/curing-your-clown.... Agree or disagree with his approach to things, his blog is very much about high social mobility.
Secondly, walking is a pretty good way to force yourself to get exercise. I'm fortunate enough to work for a big tech company with a shuttle; I recently realized that taking the shuttle forced me to walk more than 500 miles a year just between the stop and my apartment. That's huge when I'm pretty unreliable about going to the gym. The shuttle also strongly encourages me to stay on a reasonable schedule - in before the last morning shuttle, out before the last evening one. I have to imagine that over time, this is also a pretty huge health benefit.
Also as a bit of a side tangent, one of my big pet-peeves is people who state their mpg in best case scenario and not day to day. "Oh my SUV gets 45mpg cruising down the interstate." Yea sure it does. but overall you're still getting low 20s if you measure fill up to fill up.
I was taught to check my mileage every time I fill up the tank. It would be just as easy to divide `cost / trip meter` vs `trip meter / gallons`, and would arguably give a more interesting number.
Mostly just an idea I had that I thought may be worth trying.
Therefore, there is a natural association between high property values and walkability.
I hope the paper takes this into account. It could just be that people with more money live in more desirable locations, which end up being more walkable too.
Edit: Downvotes? Stay classy, HN.
But yes, that's a real issue, and it's a disastrously bad policy if you care about the environment (because density reduces transportation energy use).
However, I think the artificial restriction only magnifies the effect here. Lots of people would like to live in a dense, walkable area. If those policies weren't in effect, most people who wanted to could. But since they are, density is for those who can afford it.
Supply is certainly part of the problem for expensive housing in some cities. But it's also driven by a significant increase in demand over a fairly short period. (And IMO it remains to be seen whether trends like remote work, autonomous vehicles, etc. end up reversing the inflow into "elite" cities.)
With some exceptions like Manhattan, graduates of 20 to 30 years ago didn't live in city cores or often even commute to them. In my grad school class--the New Yorkers aside--almost no one I knew moved into a city. They were all out in the suburbs, which is where most of the companies they worked for were located as well.
Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading.
It's as if a study came out that showed that, according to their exhaustive statistical analysis, people that drove Mercedes tended to be wealthier than people who drove Chevys. Then they concluded that the key to upward mobility must be to get a Mercedes.
But I agree that it's very unlikely to be that being able to walk places makes you succeed. Could even be something as simple as enough people owning a few flats in their neighbourhood, which suddenly became super-valuable when lots of google employees showed up. That would look a lot like income mobility.
>We 1st identified the relationship between walkability and upward mobility using tax data from approximately 10 million Americans born between 1980 and 1982.
Reading the abstract, it looks like the authors are trying to make a causal argument: people are more likely to improve their economic standing because they moved to a walkable city.
OP pointed out that this could be due to self-selection of people with the potential of upward mobility to walkable cities. This would lead to spurious correlation between economic mobility and walkability. That is, a third variable (a potential candidate, awareness of climate change) could explain both upward mobility (usually, climate change awareness correlates with education level) and economic mobility (education correlates with higher wages).
My instinct tells me that walkability is a consequence of the actual cause, which is probably higher property values in denser cities, meaning better schools, or something to that effect.
The logical explanation is probably that with a car one has not only more options but also options are available at lower cost. E.g. one can move to a cheaper area, with cheaper supermarkets but that is only reasonably accessible by car. The irony for me is that cars became that popular in the first place, given that they are a quite unreliable and expensive toy.
Public schools seem to be regaining credibility as the upper-middle class flood back into cities, but have they caught up? Unsure.
Big cities have wealthy neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods, good schools and bad schools. And likewise, there are wealthy suburbs and poor suburbs.
A school that serves a mix of wealthy and poor suburbs probably has a more-average quality than the low end of a highly segregated city, but you can bet that a school in a tony part of NYC is going to be a hell of a lot better still.
All of this is due to San Antonio vs Rodriguez, which IMHO is the worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott.
First and foremost, we should attempt to replicate it and see if the correlation holds up independently.
Second, we should attempt to determine if their is a causal relationship. The arrow of causality going in either direction is of great interest to urban planning.
Or third, if there is no causal relationship between them, we should attempt to determine whether there is a third correlating factor, or better still, another factor that has a causal relationship with these two.
This discovery is highly interesting, and points in the direction of useful further research to perform. I would definitely not say that there is nothing to see here.
Authors often do some research, and then present some conjectures. Their conjectures may not be supported by the research, but they point in the direction of further research to confirm or refute the conjectures.
Research like this may not be sufficient, but it may be useful.
One of the most common such "observability" functions is that humans tend to pay attention to things they find interesting.
In states with higher road taxes and fuel prices, and if you drive a less economical vehicle, that figure can get as high as $10,000 pretty quickly. I'm always surprised at poverty level families driving vehicles that cost them 25-40% of their yearly income. Often they have to use Uber and Lyft to help cover the car's cost and end up depreciating it even faster.
Imagine, being a slave to a freaking car.
For example, post 2007/2008 one of the things that slowed the economic recovery was the fact that too many people owned homes. When you own your home you can't just pick up and move (to where the jobs are/growth is). Eventually, some people abandoned their homes. Necessary. Unfortunately, those holes left a mark behind them as well.
There is no opportunity without fluid movement.
Not really. Even if you can walk to a restaurant from a company or your apartment/condo/house, if you still have to routinely take cars and/or public transit to do most things, that city isn't very walkable.
A lot of cities have specific areas that are fairly walkable but those areas may be pretty small and/or not particularly mixed use--so you still need to mostly drive.
Here's Redfin's classification scheme: https://www.redfin.com/how-walk-score-works
I really like being able to walk places, I think it probably is helping me fiscally, but this is not even a survey.
They are probably both caused by - say - "criminality" which makes a place more or less walkable.
How far/convenient are pharmacies/cheap grocery places.
Those are the most important things
Nothing to see here.
You did, after all, dismiss a whole paper with a glib remark.