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Analyzing Accessibility Using Parcel Data: Is There Still an Access–Space Trade-Off in Long Beach, California?

  • Author(s): Kane, K
  • Hipp, JR
  • Kim, JH
  • et al.

© 2017 American Association of Geographers. This article analyzes the impact of changing housing and neighborhood characteristics on the accessibility of neighborhood businesses using Long Beach, California, as a case study. Although advocates of smart growth and New Urbanism encourage land use mixing, aggregate-level analysis can be too coarse to pick up on fine-grained aspects of urban streetscapes. This study uses assessor parcel records and a point-based business establishment data set to analyze city-wide patterns of accessibility from individual dwelling units to thirty-one types of neighborhood businesses, including grocery stores, service shops, drug stores, doctor's offices, and banks. Regression results compare parcel-level and neighborhood-level drivers of accessibility between 2006 and 2015 to gauge the aggregated effect of recent economic, demographic, and built environment changes on this aspect of urban spatial structure. Larger homes in older, multiunit buildings and higher income neighborhoods show substantial increases in accessibility to most establishment types, suggesting a trend toward both greater accessibility and larger dwelling units—despite the traditional trade-off between access and space. Although gradual increases in home and business density increased overall accessibility over this period, weaker neighborhood-level results indicate that this trend is less pronounced in high-poverty and non-white areas.

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