Municipalities (cities, towns, regions, etc.) are more than just a place to live. They’re a firm within the economy, and like every other firm in the economy, they want to sell you something. The way that they sell you something is through a supply chain that starts with the land registry system and ends with a real estate transaction, in which you absorb a unit of housing through purchase or lease.
I am fascinated by small suburban towns because their roles within a regional context are largely independent of policy. They depend on infrastructure, and that’s about it. Alternatively, the growth of these towns rests on the laurels of urban economics more than urban planning. Sure, regional infrastructure plays a role here, but let us set that aside to really focus on a meaningful reality that most people don’t really ever choose to look at.
Municipalities exist to make progress. A fundamental principal of economics is that “firms exist to make profit.” Urban economics, much like labour economics, is a subset of this theory that evaluates the relationship that space and proximity have with the revenue and cost structure of operating a firm. It is essentially a nuanced evaluation of location in the economic equation of firms.
Housing ought to be evaluated similarly, and it is. Municipalities, as such, compete for the attention of residents. Increasingly so, actually, among the de-industrialization of the western world. This phenomena is especially true in Canada, where the majority of our GDP has something to do with housing.
Cities can compete for your residency on a variety of criteria:
- being a good place to live
- having reasonable taxes
- being well located (a tough one to change)
- having employment within it
I’m going to find out as much as I can about the why we make these decisions, and I think I’ve kind of figured out how I’m going to go about that.
Instagram as a primary data collection tool for millennials:
Yesterday, I used my instagram story to release a series of polls, and it actually proved quite effective as a data collection tool. Interestingly, a lot of millennials still live in the suburbs, despite better employment prospects in the city. What makes this more clear is when you look at the why these people live in the suburbs – it’s to stay close to, or within their family homes. I will follow up with some pie-in-a-pie charts as I followed some of the subset groups, as I am able to follow populations through the polling – it’s just going to take me a while.