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Developing Densely: Estimating the Effect of Subway Growth on New York City Land Uses




In the early 20th Century New York City grew rapidly in population and developed area. The subway system grew rapidly to accommodate this new growth, but also as a concerted effort to decentralize the city away from lower Manhattan. This paper explores the co-development of the subway system and residential and commercial land uses using Granger causality models in order to determine if transit growth led residential and commercial development or if subway expansion occurred as a reaction to residential and commercial densities. The results suggest that the subway network developed in an orderly fashion and grew densest in areas where development had already occurred while lagged station densities were a weak predictor of residential and commercial densities. The implications of land use regulations and transit network density on residential and commercial land uses are discussed as are applications to contemporary planning debates.

Suggested Citation

  • King, David, 2011. "Developing Densely: Estimating the Effect of Subway Growth on New York City Land Uses," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 4(2), pages 19-32.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:jtralu:0062

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    Cited by:

    1. Levinson, David, 2011. "The Coevolution of Transport and Land Use: An Introduction to the Special Issue and an Outline of a Research Agenda," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 4(2), pages 1-3.
    2. Dröes, Martijn I. & Rietveld, Piet, 2015. "Rail-based public transport and urban spatial structure: The interplay between network design, congestion and urban form," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 81(P2), pages 421-439.

    More about this item


    Subways; land use; density; New York City; Granger causality;

    JEL classification:

    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General


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