Veblen in the Metropolis: Land Use Proximity in United States Urban Landscapes E. Anthon Eff Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Why no pawn shops in shopping malls? • No liquor stores near churches? • No adult bookstores near schools? • No nursing homes near cemeteries? Tacit rules of land use proximity • Avoiding contagion of unlike things • Can be studied from the perspective of Anthropology: formation of taboos
Unconscious preferences Tacit rules Collective action Landuse regulations Landuse associations. • Empirical look at landuse associations can give sense of these unconscious preferences. • Data: all parcels in Davidson County, Tennessee (Nashville); 216,898 parcels, classified in 77 landuses.
Calculate the probability that one land use will be adjacent to another. • Adjacent: two parcels adjacent when borders within 70 feet of each other. • 216,898 parcels related in 2,397,367 proximate parcel pairs.
matrix M: each cell mij gives the number of times that a parcel of land use i is proximate to a parcel of land use j. (M is 77x77, only eight rows and columns shown)
Matrix M can be used to create the transition matrix P, where each cell pij gives the probability that a parcel of land use i is proximate to a parcel of land use j. (Eight of 77 rows and columns shown)
matrix X: each cell xij gives the expected probability that a parcel of land use i is proximate to a parcel of land use j. The expected proximity matrix X can then be compared with the actual proximity matrix P to give matrix D: D = P - X
Net Probability: D = P - X These net probabilities represent the tacit rules governing land use associations. (Eight of 77 rows and columns shown)
From Table 1: 7 landuses with highest openness (all commercial or industrial) and 7 landuses with lowest openness (all respectable housing or common area)
Summary of tacit rules: • Single family home on city lot is most isolated from other land uses. • Residential is isolated from commercial. • Lower-status housing (apartments, mobile homes) tends to be more associated with commercial or rural land uses.
Historical background I • 18th century Europe, emerging capitalist middle class, erosion of traditions (Möser, Simmel) • Old elite displaced (e.g., guild masters lose market to factory owners). Circulation of the elite (Pareto). The need to display status (Eric Wolf). • Work areas move out of home to different part of city (Braudel); principle of conspicuous leisure (Veblen). • Home separates into public and private areas, with public area full of expensive goods for display (Braudel); principle of conspicuous consumption (Veblen).
Historical background II • Pecuniary valuations displace traditional values (things and people become “commodified”). (Georg Simmel) • “Whole person” relationships replaced by instrumental, contractually bounded relationships (e.g., serfs replaced by wage labor). (Justus Möser) • 19th century Europe, middle class cult of the family (“domestic ideology”), centered on home, provides new source of meaning (Frykman & Löfgren) • Separation of home into private and public areas. Family sheltered from commodified relationships.
Summary: • Most salient separation is between single family home on city lot and commercial landuses. • This separation based on • the use of the home as a signal of status, removing from the home all trace of useful work. • the “domestic ideology”: family as the focus of life, separated from external world
Implications • New way to view landuse regulations: they function as sumptuary laws maintaining status boundary. • Deep roots to the trend toward housing separated from other land uses.