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Urbanity

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  • Gabriel M. Ahfeldt

Abstract

I define a composite amenity that provides aesthetic and consumption value to local residents: Urbanity. A novel data set of geo-tagged photos shared in internet communities serves as a proxy for urbanity. From the spatial pattern of house prices and photos I identify the value of urbanity in two of the largest cities in Europe: Berlin and London. I find an elasticity of indirect utility with respect to urbanity of about 1%. The aggregated willingness-to-pay equates to about $1bn per year in each city. The results demonstrate the important role cities play as centers of leisure, consumption, and beauty.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel M. Ahfeldt, 2013. "Urbanity," SERC Discussion Papers 0136, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0136
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    File URL: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/textonly/SERC/publications/download/sercdp0136.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Georgios Kavetsos, 2014. "Form or function?: the effect of new sports stadia on property prices in London," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 177(1), pages 169-190, January.
    2. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M., 2011. "If we build, will they pay?: predicting property price effects of transport innovations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33595, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296.
    4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
    5. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Georgios, Kavetsos, 2010. "Form or Function? The Impact of New Football Stadia on Property Prices in London," MPRA Paper 25003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Liv Osland & Inge Thorsen, 2008. "Effects on housing prices of urban attraction and labor-market accessibility," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 40(10), pages 2490-2509, October.
    7. Gabriel Ahlfeldt, 2011. "If Alonso Was Right: Modeling Accessibility And Explaining The Residential Land Gradient," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 318-338, May.
    8. Gibbons, Stephen & Machin, Stephen, 2005. "Valuing rail access using transport innovations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 148-169, January.
    9. Morris A. Davis & Francois Ortalo-Magne, 2011. "Household Expenditures, Wages, Rents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(2), pages 248-261, April.
    10. Brueckner, Jan K., 1987. "The structure of urban equilibria: A unified treatment of the muth-mills model," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 821-845 Elsevier.
    11. McMillen, Daniel P., 1996. "One Hundred Fifty Years of Land Values in Chicago: A Nonparametric Approach," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 100-124, July.
    12. Clapp, John M., 1979. "The substitution of urban land for other inputs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 122-134, January.
    13. Dennis Epple & Brett Gordon & Holger Sieg, 2010. "A New Approach to Estimating the Production Function for Housing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 905-924, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Amenities; consumer city; hedonic analysis; photography geography; property prices;

    JEL classification:

    • R20 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - General
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General

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