Chelsea Bakaitis and Michael Clay, Geography
The traditional downtown and suburban form of a metropolis is becoming an obsolete model to describe the Sacramento region. The region has five commercial centers among the communities (described as “edge cities”) surrounding the traditional downtown of the City of Sacramento (Garreau 1991). Developers of the region have been building and are building large (over 100,000 square feet) units to house multiple uses from medical offices to shopping malls. These buildings are a part of the urban form of Sacramento and are primary to the landscape of the region. The road system is central to landuse practice of the region, with most commercial development in the edge cities bordering major roadways. Transit Oriented Development (TOD) has become a recent trend throughout the United States. Increase in traffic congestion and pollution of cities has made the car a less viable option of transportation. Sacramento has made effort over the past several years to mitigate this through public transit infrastructure. In 1987 the region built its first light rail system, which linked the close-by northeast and east with downtown. In 1998 an extension was built which connected the downtown with Rancho Cordova, further to the east. In 2003 a light rail was built to connect with the south region and a few years later the northern suburbs were connected. This paper will consider how the Sacramento light rail system is affecting the location choice of developers building large units (structures over 100,000 square feet) in the Sacramento metropolis. Examining this is important because it will provide an example of how and if transit lines affect land-use patterns in a midsized city with a traditionally automobile-based form. This information can guide future transportation and land-use planning in order to better create regions that serve a variety of people and uses.
Research on how transportation affects land-use, especially that of business development is a new but increasingly popular topic right now. Urban sprawl is the new form of cities, but it serves only the automobile owner often marginalizing the elderly, disabled or non-car owner. Contemporary cities have traffic congestion, polluted air, and are decentralizing away from the traditional downtown. Recent planning philosophy has been to focus on building better transit options as a way of attracting business downtown. For example, it has been found in Philadelphia that mass public transit has allowed the city to stay competitive with its edge cities in new business developments. Within a span of ten years Philadelphia improved its transit system, and raised parking fees downtown to discourage automobile use. This improved efficiency of transportation throughout the city and encouraged new development growth (Casello 2006). In Denver suburban business development is as integral to local economy as that of the downtown. Denver has also been working to improve its mass transit system in order to encourage transit-oriented development to make these suburbs more accessible. This transit initiative has also increased urban density within the City of Denver. This indicates that public transit is affecting land-use patterns in Denver. In fact, development (5.3 million square feet of retail space, and 5.4 million square feet of office space) has found location on average within one-half mile of existing or planned transit stations from 1997 to 2010 (Ratner 2012).
This research will examine how and if large developments accumulate around light rail stops. It is assumed that public transit changes land-use patterns and encourages development within proximity to stops. Large-developments (buildings over 100,000 square feet) are a relatively new phenomenon as buildings, which cater to multiple people in an area, instead of having many small-specialized buildings distributed throughout an area. The automobile has facilitated large developments, as they are usually inaccessible needing space to build. Cities are increasing their public transit options in hope of creating more transit-oriented development. This research questions—are large developments following?
It is assumed in this paper that riders will take light rail if it is within walking proximity to their destination, and that developers consider this trend in their location choice. This may be a slight limitation, because there are many reasons besides transit that cause a building to locate. For example a central location downtown may be more of an economic drive for business location than transit. It is significant that public transit is primarily in dense urban areas. This paper does not try to argue that there is a direct relationship between transit and large developments, but rather that there is a pattern. This paper examines retail, office, medical, government, and education large developments and compare if there is a pattern in their location choices around light rail stops. Are large building developments following a trend of TOD in the Sacramento region?
The data used will be GIS layers of light rail stops and large developments in the Sacramento Metropolitan area from the City of Sacramento GIS department. A nearest neighbor analysis and an analysis of variance (ANOVA) will be performed, as preliminary models to better understand patterns of large development types and their relation to light rail stops. Nearest neighbor analysis will be used to look for clustering patterns in office, retail, medical, government, and education large developments. In order to better understand how each development is different by distance to light rail stops an ANOVA model will be created to see if there is any significance in clustering.
Each individual type of building was compared separately in the nearest neighbor analysis. This paper sets out to prove that there is a pattern of where these developments locate. Nearest neighbor analysis looks at clustering patterns, by searching for the nearest value of distance between points. Essentially, it is the observed distance divided by the expected distance (the average distance between neighboring points in a hypothetical random distribution)—this is called the nearest neighbor ratio, and is examined in the Results section.
In order to better understand how each development is different by distance to light rail stops an ANOVA model was created to see if there were any significance in clustering. In order to perform this test the distance of each building from the closest light rail stop was measured. ANOVA tested the difference between the group means of each building type. The group mean was the combination of the mean distance of each development type (medical, office, retail, government, and education buildings) from the nearest light rail stop.
A Nearest Neighbor test showed that office, retail, and education developments had significant clustering patterns. Education development had a very low z score, at -8.81, and a very low nearest neighbor ratio (explained in Methods) at 0.271530. This clustering pattern is very significant, especially when you compare it with government buildings, office or retail developments. Government buildings are clustered with the highest ratio of 0.997. Office developments were clustered with a ratio of 0.65104, and retail were clustered at 0.6835. The ratio of medical developments describes that they are almost perfectly randomly distributed. Though education buildings are not clustered to each other, the average distance of it to the nearest light rail stops is closer than the other developments, which may indicate that large education development is more related to light rail stop locations.
Nearest Neighbor Analysis
|Type of Development||Ratio||z-score||p-value||Average Distance (m)|
In order to test if this clustering could be related to location of light rail stops, an ANOVA test was then performed. The significance level of all components was 0.092. This indicates that there is a significant difference between the mean distances of each development type from light rail stops. Comparing this value with a significance level of 0.1 we can reject the null hypothesis, being that there is no significant difference between the average distances of development from light rail stops. This indicates that there are large developments that are on average closer in distance to light rail stops.
Analysis of Variance of distance and education, government, medical, office, and retail buildings.
|Sum of Squares||df||Mean Square||F||Sig.|
It is important to consider if public transit is the way of the future for major cities. The important question being: will transit help the city grow in business and service development? This study opens up that question, specifically for the Sacramento Metropolitan area, and adds to the larger literature about cities and how transit oriented development may be encouraged. This work is particularly useful for newer western U.S. cities, as Sacramento is a typical example of growth for the contemporary metropolitan area.
From the results, it can be concluded that there is a pattern between distance from light rail transit stops and certain large developments. There is an indication of clustering with government, office, and retail large developments. The sample size of some of the developments is small, such as medical development, and so this may skew certain results. As mentioned in the literature, there are many factors which affect development choice, and more data will have to be explored to see what other locational variables are affecting land-use.
The pattern between large developments and light rail stops may exist because although major highways surround the downtown area of Sacramento, they are often congested with heavy traffic. Large developments, especially government, education, retail, and office (developments which have a high flow of users) may see proximity to light rail stops as a way of making their business more accessible to users. There are patterns in land use changes, the growth of large developments, and light rail stops. Large developments in the Sacramento area grew rapidly from 2000-2007, and the light rail system slowly extended between 1987 and the mid 2000’s. The transit trend, as well as the large development trend expanded across the United States during this time. This study is important because it considers what the relationship may have been between these two urban movements, and how cities can better plan for transportation accessibility and large development in the future. BIBLIOGRAPHY Casello, Jeffrey M., 2006. Transit competitiveness in polycentric metropolitan regions. Transportation Research Part A, 41 (2007), 19-40 Devereux, M.P., Griffith, R., and Simpson, H., 2003. Agglomeration, regional grants and firm location. The Institute for Fiscal Studies. Garreau, J., 1991. Edge city: life on the new frontier. New York: Doubleday and Company. Henderson, V. and Mitra, A., 1996. The new urban landscape: developers and edge cities. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 26 (6), 613–643. Ratner, Kieth A., Goetz, Andrew R., 2012. The reshaping of land use and urban form in Denver through transit-oriented development. Cities, 30 (2013), 31-46