his paper examines the changes that occurred in the rail network
and density of population in London during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It aims to disentangle the 'chicken and egg' problem of
which came first, network or land development, through a set of statistical analyses using clearly distinguishing events by order. Using a panel
of data representing the 33 boroughs of London over each decade from
1871 to 2001, the research finds that there is a positive feedback effect
between population density and network density. Additional rail stations
(either underground or surface) are positive factors leading to subsequent
increases in population in the suburbs of London, while additional population density is a subsequent factor in deploying more rail. These effects
differ in central London, where the additional accessibility produced by
rail led to commercial development and led to a depopulation. There are
also few differences in the effects associated with surface rail stations and underground stations, as the underground was able to get into central
London in a way that surface rail could not. However the two networks
were weak (and statistically insignificant) substitutes for each other in the
suburbs, but the density of surface rail stations was a complement to the
Underground in the center, though not vice versa.
Levinson, David (2008) Density and Dispersion: The Co-Development of Land use and Rail in London. Journal of Economic Geography 8(1) 55-57.
UK Economic and Social Research Council, National Science Foundation
Levinson, David M.
Density and Dispersion: The Co-Development of Land use and Rail in London.
Oxford University Press.
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