In the early twentieth century, New York City’s population, developed land area, and subway network size all increased dramatically. The rapid expansion of the transit system and land development present intriguing questions as to whether land development led subway growth or if subway expansion was a precursor to real estate development. The research described in this article uses Granger causality models based on parcel-level data to explore the co-development of the subway system and residential and commercial land uses, and attempts to determine whether subway stations were a leading indicator of residential and commercial development or if subway station expansion followed residential and commercial construction. The results of this study suggest that the subway network developed in an orderly fashion and grew densest in areas where there was growth in commercial development. There is no evidence that subway growth preceded residential development throughout the city. These results suggest that subway stations opened in areas already well-served by the system and that network growth often followed residential and commercial development. The subway network acted as an agent of decentralization away from lower Manhattan as routes and stations were sought in areas with established ridership demand.
Developing densely: Estimating the effect of subway growth on New York City land uses.
Journal of Transport and Land Use.
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