If Alonso was Right: Residual Land Price, Accessibility and Urban Attraction
This study investigates whether accessibility shapes the attractiveness of residential land as predicted by theory. A spatial hedonic analysis is conducted for the metropolitan area of Berlin, Germany, using a large set of georeferenced property transactions and micro-level data. We find that the nuclei of residential land price and employment density gradients are separated by approx. 10 km, which essentially contradicts theoretical implications. Also, environmental externalities arising from the residential composition or the building structure and density in the neighborhood are more important determinants than access to the city center, which, if at all, impacts negatively on residential land prices. Moreover, a new gravity-based accessibility indicator is employed that incorporates the effective distribution of employment as well as the rapid transit network architecture in order to disentangle the effects of proximity to employment opportunities from a more general urban attraction effect. After controlling for accessibility, we find a negative effect of urban attraction, respectively an effect of urban repulsion, indicating a relatively higher attractiveness of peripheral locations. This effect is partially counterbalanced by the benefits arising from access to employment opportunities that are, although relatively dispersed, more concentrated within downtown areas. In the tension between both forces, the land price gradient tends to be, if at all significant, positive. After all, we conclude that if transport costs are very low, commuting costs lose their role as the most striking determinant of land price. These results are robust to spatial dependency.
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