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Impact of rapid transit stations on land use changes in their proximity Baross, Paul P.

Abstract

For nearly one hundred years, from approximately the 1830s to the early decades of the twentieth century, the form of many North American cities was dominated by the pattern of mass transportation routes. Each successive form of transportation from the horse drawn omni-bus to the electric street railways, had visible effects upon the growth, shape and internal organization of urban agglomerations. After fifty years of almost sole reliance on private transportation, the last decade has witnessed a significantly increased interest in rail rapid transit with an often claimed, but rarely thoroughly analyzed expectation, that the revitalized and improved mass transportation routes will ultimately piece the fragmented environment of today's metropolises into a manageable whole again. This study treats one aspect of the multi-dimensional interaction between the introdution/ operation of rapid transit lines and subsequent restructuring of the spatial distribution of activities in the urban field: the rate of development of areas in the proximity of rapid transit stations. Explanations for the aparent difference in the rate of new construction around various stations is sought not in terms of the traditional accessibility concept, but rather in the environmental context within which each station is placed. Drawing from a rather distinct subdivision of urban research and extensive data analysis, the components of the environmental context and their relative importance in exerting influence on the spatial distribution of new construction were identified. During the course of the study a simple simulation model was developed in order to capture the dynamics of changes within the environmental context and consequently to assist in anticipating the spatial distribution of new constructions or replacements of existing phyisical stock in the vicinity of rapid transit stations. The emphasis is placed on these specific structural changes because the consequences of locational and investment decisions that result in significant alteration or renewal of buildings represent a more substantial modification in the internal organization of the city than those resulting from the continuous shifting and filtering of activities within the standing stock.

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