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May 03, 2007

Richard Florida

Cities and Speed

« By the Numbers: 10% Rule | Main | Beauty Myth »

Walkers A new study ranks the pace of world cities - by the speed at which people walk.

Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire who helped conduct the research, used a 1994 study of pedestrians' speed as a comparison and found that on average city dwellers now move 10 percent faster. "The pace of life in our major cities is now much quicker than before," he said. "This increase in speed will affect more people than ever, because for the first time in history the majority of the world's population are now living in urban centers.We just have this feeling that we should be producing and active all of the time," he said. "That is fueled by the email, text, mobile phone culture. But there has to be an upper limit, because if this trend continues, we will arriving places before we have set off."

See the rankings after the jump. The story is here. (Hat tip: Tim and Sarah Gulden).

The World's Speediest Cities
Time (in seconds)  for 35 people to walk 60 feet
) Singapore (Singapore): 10.55
2) Copenhagen (Denmark): 10.82
3) Madrid (Spain): 10.89
4) Guangzhou (China): 10.94
5) Dublin (Ireland): 11.03
6) Curitiba (Brazil): 11.13
7) Berlin (Germany): 11.16
8) New York (United States of America): 12.00
9) Utrecht (Netherlands): 12.04
10) Vienna (Austria): 12.06
11) Warsaw (Poland): 12.07
12) London (United Kingdom): 12.17
13) Zagreb (Croatia): 12.20
14) Prague (Czech Republic): 12.35
15) Wellington (New Zealand): 12.62
16) Paris (France): 12.65
17) Stockholm (Sweden): 12.75
18) Ljubljana (Slovenia): 12.76
19) Tokyo (Japan): 12.83
20) Ottawa (Canada): 13.72
21) Harare (Zimbabwe): 13.92
22) Sofia (Bulgaria): 13.96
23) Taipei (Taiwan): 14.00
24) Cairo (Egypt): 14.18
25) Sana'a (Yemen): 14.29
26) Bucharest (Romania): 14.36
27) Dubai (United Arab Emirates): 14.64
28) Damascus (Syria): 14.94
29) Amman (Jordan): 15.95
30) Bern (Switzerland): 17.37
31) Manama (Bahrain): 17.69
32) Blantyre (Malawi): 31.60


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Interesting that only one US city (NY) makes the list. Also, interesting that in their research they did not count people on phones... one wonders how many people that keeps out (a huge % of people walking from my observations in DC, SF, Chicago,etc.)... also, interesting from the piece....

"Pedestrians in Singapore were crowned the world's fastest movers, walking 30 percent faster than they did in the early 1990s, and in China, the pace of life in Guangzhou has increased by more than 20 percent."


Hmmm... I'm not sure this means anything. Ottawa is cold, so presumably people walk fast there to get out of the cold. In New York fast walking is often the quickest form of transport.

But then some figures don't make much sense at all:
Curitiba Brazil? Very cool place, but it also seemed rather laid back to me. I don't recall people walking fast like they do in Ottawa or New York. Same with Zagreb -- unless people are walking quickly to get the last table at their favourite sidewalk cafe.

Study seems a little suspect.

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