Why Are the Western Ends of Cities Generally Wealthier than the Eastern Ends of Cities?

Dan Zambonini alleges that cities in the northern hemisphere tend to have poorer eastern rather than western sides. He then suggests that this is because wealthier people could afford to be upwind of air pollution:

Many older cities rapidly expanded during the Industrial Revolution, as workers flocked to the urban centers. As the towns and cities expanded, the residential areas for the workers tended to be in the east, with the middle and upper-classes in the west.

The reason for this is that in much of the northern hemisphere, the prevailing winds are westerlies – blowing from west to east. The massive, unchecked pollution from these early industries would therefore drift eastward, making the air quality much lower in the east end of cities, lowering the desirability (and price) of the housing. Middle classes preferred the cleaner west ends.

The issue was probably even pre-Industrial Revolution, as smoke from personal chimneys would still have caused problems to the east.


http://www.thejanuarist.com/why-are-the-east-of-cities-usually-poorer/ via Marginal Revolution | Photo by Flickr user otodo used under Creative Commons license

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The answer can be found in the energies of Feng Shui.
The cities which were growing up in the industrial revolution were growing when the cosmic energies were in the South West, West, and North West. People with money get to buy new construction. And with America growing from the east coast to the west coast, people didn't go just past the great location to build a city and then start building so as to backtrack and grow to the east.
Check out Feng Shui and find the direction that the good energy is coming from this year and just watch what happens in your town/city over the course of this year. You will see new growth or re-growth in the part of town being blessed with good energy.
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As an urban geographer who's grad school education included a lengthy discussion of this old chestnut I am tempted to just declare "Shenanigans!" and move on.

But this thing has been popping up everywhere on teh intertubes this past week, so:

This observation/theory popped up first way back in the day when geographers were trying oooohhhh so hard to explain the spatial ordering of the world in rational terms so the "real" sciences would take them seriously (like the economists that write Marginal Revolution for example). Taking a page from Park and Burgess someone noticed that there was a pattern of east side industrialization and poverty in *some* US cities, and correlated it to wind patterns.
This caught on and has been a truism ever since. Problem is it also correlates to other patterns; like where rail lines enter cities, and the nearest side to a major market. These patterns are less deterministic and have a better correlation rate than prevailing winds. The biggest problem for this theory is that east-side industrialism and poverty is not the case in as many cities as it is true and overlooking those cities is a classic example of confirmation-bias.
The commuter correlation doesn't factor in since these patterns appeared long before individual car-based commuting became normal.

In short, this theory has never survived any rigorous peer review, and it isn't a new idea by any means.

sorry for the pedantic rant.
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