Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Economics Of Corners

"Jacobs stresses the importance of corners for overall economic development in a city, or more precisely, she argues that, ceteris paribus, short blocks are preferable to long blocks (which translates to more corners). Having shorter blocks and more corners multiplies the ways of getting from point A to point B, which enables pedestrians (and drivers) to experience more diversity of use at street level, and offers vendors more good locations to supply that diversity, than otherwise. Because roughly twice as many people will pass by a corner property per hour than locations at mid-block, the former naturally tend to be pricier than the latter.

A rule of thumb for the success of an urban center is that about 1000 persons need to pass through every hour (see Joel Garreaus’s Edge City). Short blocks and multiple corners make this more likely, as people who find streetscapes interesting tend to attract still more people, and more business."

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