Urban form and commuting, Bejing-style

Zhao, P, B Lu, and G de Roo. The impact of urban growth on commuting patterns in a restructuring city: Evidence from beijing. Papers in Regional Science doi:10.1111/j.1435-5957.2010.00343.x.

A new manuscript discusses the hardy perennial–suburban commuting–with a nice riff on what I strongly believe is the mistake belief among sustainability folks that downtown commutes and strong downtowns are somehow better and more sustainable than sub-center to sub-center commuting. Bejing, from the way this manuscript describes, has explicitly planned some suburban subcenters, all served by public transit. The results are what you’d predict from urban theory: shorter commutes to subcenters, all thriving, and more (not less) residential and employment choice.