- Does polycentric urban spatial development lead to less commuting   click here to open paper content389 kb
by    Lin, Dong & Allen, Andrew & Cui, Jianqiang | lindy010@mymail.unisa.edu.au   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper revisits the study of how employment’s decentralization in
metropolitan areas based on polycentric spatial structure development
affects workers’ commuting patterns and job accessibility.
Commuting time is popularly used indicator of a city’s transportation
environment. Previous empirical studies in European and North American
countries showed that apart from investment road infrastructure and
constructing large-scale transport projects, land development patterns
including urban spatial structure, jobs housing balance and densities can
also have impacts on transport and commuting trip length.

With the decentralization and evolution from monocentric to polycentric
spatial structure that large cities have experienced in recent decades,
urban economists, geographers, and planners have from various perspectives
highlighted their interests on polycentric urban development. In
particular, the study of how employment’s concentralized decentralization
in metropolitan areas is based on polycentric spatial structure development
affects workers’ commuting patterns (including commuting distance and time
as well as travel mode choice) has created many intense debates. There are
two major reasons for the debates. One reason is whether the evolution of a
polycentric spatial structure and the formation of sub-centers in large
cities could provide more opportunities to enhance spatial matches between
the job and housing location selections of workers. Accordingly,
employment’s decentralized concentration would improve travel patterns and
urban environments such as shortening individual commuting distance and
duration, less reliance on private cars as well as influencing their job
accessibility. Another reason is whether and how mixed land use and jobs-
housing balance policies minimize workers’ commuting trips as well as
enhancing their job accessibility.

Current empirical studies regarding the nexus between polycentric urban
development and commuting are largely conducted in European and North
American cities. Cases from China’s mega cities are very scarce. The nexus
between urban spatial evolution and commuting is more complex than in
western cities in the restructuring of urban China due to the profound fact
that the evolution of urban spatial structure has been driven by the
transformation from a centrally planned system to a market oriented system
that occurred with market economic and housing reforms. This paper will
review and discuss the debates of how polycentric urban development impact
on patterns of commuting through a review and comparison studies of
experiences in cities of European and North America countries. Furthermore,
an empirical study into the impacts of dynamic changes of urban spatial
structure on commuting taken into individual’s social-economic factors in
Beijing would enhance and extend our knowledge of the connection between
urban land development patterns and transport in a new global city.
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