This is why attractive cities do better economically

city

(Pedro Lastra, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Why do people choose to live in one city over another? According to new research, more attractive urban centres command a “beauty premium”, which helps entice new residents and create employment opportunities.

The idea of a beauty premium is not new. A causal link between a person’s perceived good looks and career success is long established, and a similar phenomenon could occur with attractive places.

Researchers Gerald A Carlino of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and Albert Saiz of Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at the relationship between a city’s beauty and key growth indicators.

The study built upon traditional measures of the importance of amenities for urban development, such as the prevalence of parks, restaurants and tourist attractions.

Picture perfect

Adopting a unique approach to measuring beauty, the researchers used records of tourist visits and photos of picturesque locations posted online to isolate each city’s perceived attractiveness. The results were compared with population growth figures, urban regeneration and levels of neighbourhood gentrification within city centres.

The results show that cities perceived as twice as attractive as others experienced more than 10% additional population growth and employment opportunities in the two decades leading to 2010.

Of those people drawn to picturesque urban centres, a higher proportion were college graduates, high-skilled workers and employers than in other cities. Urban beauty and lower taxes are the two most important predictors of overall growth in a city’s population.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about the future of cities?

The study found the influx of new arrivals to beautiful cities pushes up property prices, particularly in areas with little scope for new housing to be built. Specific neighbourhoods can also benefit from localised urban beauty premiums, drawing affluent, educated people back to live in, and around, the central business districts (CBD) of cities.

The gentrification of these areas draws new residents – often displacing existing tenants who can no longer afford the high living costs – and can spill over into neighbouring industrial or logistics districts, where warehouses and factories are converted into high-end houses and amenities.

Image: UN via Mashable/Statista

An attractive investment

Carlino and Saiz describe a new type of neighbourhood that is emerging in cityscapes considered to be beautiful. Central recreational districts (CRD) offer affluent newcomers landmarks, historic sites, parks, entertainment and tourist attractions. The resurgence of industrial districts in New York, like Soho, is a good example of a CRD that attracts new residents, in contrast to the declining trend of many American city centres.

The research shows that all cities can make themselves more attractive. While it’s true some urban centres enjoy more rivers, mountains and appealing natural features than others, these features don’t necessarily make them inherently more appealing for people to live in.

Investment in parks, museums, landmarks and historic spaces increases urban beautification, which draws in more affluent residents. Returning to New York as an example, Manhattan’s High Line project has turned a disused elevated train track, which was due for demolition, into a public park offering residents and visitors a combination of nature, art and design. Such investment decisions have raised the area’s profile and attracted a high volume of visitors and new residents.

According to UN figures, 68% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. A growing population combined with a migratory trend from rural to urban living could create 2.5 billion new city dwellers by mid-century. New investment in infrastructure and facilities will be required to accommodate these numbers.

While investment in urban beautification projects boosts regeneration and economic growth, it can also displace existing residents who are pushed out by rising living costs.

Policymakers have the option of providing affordable housing options and putting in place measures to reduce poverty inequality, to ensure the beauty premium works to the benefit of all.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Making money from meeting the SDGs? An overarching approach to sustainable development.

‘Humiliation was the worst’; Holocaust survivor at UN, asks world to act with ‘empathy and compassion’

Monday’s Daily Brief: Earth Day, looking for a solution to Libya crisis, focus on indigenous issues, Security Council on Sri Lanka, a high-level visit to Bangladesh

Do academia and banks favour a new Middle Ages period?

At Ministerial session, UN regional office in Beirut to focus on technology for sustainable development

Twenty days that may remold the future of Europe

The European Parliament double-checks the EU 2014-2020 budget

Crucial medical supplies airlifted to north-east Syria to meet ‘desperate need’

Brexit: Ensuring a smooth transition for car producers and safety on the roads

It’s Time to Disrupt Europe, Digital First

‘Global clarion call’ for youth to shape efforts to forge peace in the most dangerous combat zones

At last a good price for the Greek debt!

This is how much the US-China trade war could cost the world, according to new research

Why we need artists who strive for social change

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

MEPs demand Bulgaria’s and Romania’s swift accession to Schengen area

Here’s how China is going green

From a refugee camp to Davos: one Co-Chair’s story

Cancer is a growing global threat and prevention is key, UN study shows

What Keynes can teach us about government debt today

5 things to know about the exploding world of pro gaming

ECB ready to counter the rise of the euro?

Action needed to end deadly clashes between African herders and farmers: UN chief

Climate change: ‘A moral, ethical and economic imperative’ to slow global warming say UN leaders, calling for more action

1 million citizens try to create a new EU institution

In this Tokyo cafe, the waiters are robots operated remotely by people with disabilities

These countries are the most peaceful – in 3 charts

Scores killed in ‘barbaric’ attack on Mali village, UN chief urges restraint, calls for ‘dialogue’ to resolve tensions

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

These five exercise trends will help society and your health

To improve women’s access to finance, stop asking them for collateral

JADE Testimonial #1: Marcello @ Enlargement

EC v Samsung: A whole year to compile a case

8 things we need to do to tackle humanitarian crises in 2019

Afghanistan: UN condemns blasts that leave 8 dead at cricket stadium

Niger population’s suffering ‘increasing with each passing month’: UN Refugee Agency

EU out to conquer African Union summit

New EU rules to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing

Ferry capsizes near Mosul, UN chief offers solidarity, support ‘as needed’

Deep chasm still divides Athens and Brussels; can Eurozone use the nuclear arm of liquidity against Greece?

Why is the World Health Organisation so much needed?

Cutting CO2 emissions from trucks: MEPs reach deal with Council

New chapters in EU-China trade disputes

These refugee children have danced in the snow for the first time

India is investing more money in solar power than coal for first time

Migration: Better travel safe than sorry

Fighting crime: faster EU-wide exchange of non-EU nationals’ criminal records

China is building 8 new airports a year

Sudan: Amidst deaths, injuries, imprisonments, UNICEF stresses children’s protection ‘at all times’

Greece: The new government of Alexis Tsipras shows its colors

This tiny new grain could save the planet

Artificial Intelligence: These 3 charts show what people really think

Wars have rules: 5 things the UN humanitarian chief wants countries to tackle so human suffering in conflict can be minimized

Businesses, governments and consumers to implement a more climate-friendly approach to #BeatPlasticPollution on World Environment Day 2018

European Commission adopts new list of third countries with weak anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regimes

How the gender commuting gap could be harming women’s careers

Practicing healthcare through a global lens

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll

These are the countries that eat the most meat

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s