LITTLE EVIDENCE OF JOBS-HOUSING BALANCE PREFERENCE
In the United States, surveys by the Bureau of the Census indicate that considerations other than work location represent the principal reason for neighborhood choice among less than one-quarter of households who move. Overall, only 23 percent of moving households cited proximity to employment as the main reason for their choice of a new neighborhood. Among those purchasing their homes, which represent nearly 70 percent of households, the figure was even less, at 14 percent.
There are fundamental difficulties with the concept of establishing self-contained urban villages in urban areas. As the US Census Bureau data indicates, the planning desire to minimize work to job commuting differences is not shared by the majority of households. There may be more than one worker in the household, which makes commute distance minimization more difficult. It is simply not feasible to provide for a sufficient array of jobs that meet the needs of neighborhood residents and employers. At any point, a worker who lives nearby may accept a more remote job for better pay or conditions and choose not to move closer to the new job.
The most fundamental difficulty with urban villages and the jobs-housing balance is that the very reason that urban areas became large was because they developed as large labor markets in which people could work in the local neighborhood or many kilometers away. To transform the urban area into a series of urban villages would undermine the very purpose of the modern urban area. In fact there is a jobs-housing balance and it is at the labor market level - the urban area level. The fences that urban planners would like to build have been and will continue to be ignored by people who tend to do what they want more than what the planners want.
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WENDELL COX CONSULTANCY
P. O. Box 841 - Belleville, IL 62222 USA
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