Cost of excavating high bank has made a break in business buildings on traffic street. First floor of new building shown excavated 60 feet back, which upper stories run 120 feet back. First Avenue, Seattle.
The reasons for the clustering together of wholesale houses are not so clear as in the case of retail shops, except that the features which are favorable for one wholesale house are equally so for another, such as proximity to transportation facilities to save trucking and the fact that by locating together they attract more out-of-town buyers than if scattered.
The outward pressure of one zone upon another involves the slow advance of the banking and office section into the older retail or wholesale districts, the continual following along of the lighter wholesale houses into the buildings vacated by the retail shops, the close pursuit of the best residence sections by the best retail shops, with normally a mixed zone of institutions, etc, acting as a buffer between them, and the steady march of residences into the outlying country, first utilized for gardens or cottages. Whatever the size or shape of a city, the order of dependence of one district upon another remains the same, although many districts are not clearly defined but overlap others of different character.
Frontage on traffic street used for advertising purposes. Seattle.
In connection with the progression of districts in a city, we may note the movement of the point of highest value, which means the most desirable location for a retail shop in all cities, except in the few financial capitals where the banking and office district produces higher values than retail shops.
In a waterfront city the highest values start at the point of origin and spread normally along the first street on the waterfront, moving later to the next street parallel to it, and so on back.
Berlin. The clustering of railroad stations towards the city center illustrates the efforts of railroads, for strategic reasons, to reach the business heart of the city. This map shows only a small part of the city.
The rate of this backward growth from street to street varies according to the prosperity of a city, a rapid increase of population being reflected in an expansion of the city's area, and often a rapid shifting of the business centre. In slow growing cities it may take, from twenty to forty years to move the principal retail business from one street to another, as note the movement from Water Street to Main Street in Bridgeport; from Bay Street to Congress Street and later Broughton Street in Savannah, etc.
If the principal street runs at right angles to the water front, the shifting of the highest point of value takes place much more rapidly than if the street is parallel to the water front, where it has to be moved laterally. The rate instead of averaging from twenty to forty years might vary from eight to twelve years per block, the length of the blocks affecting the movement. One factor delaying such movement would be a strong traffic street at right angles to the principal street, which might hold the highest values at its intersection for many years. Such strong cross streets often produce jumps in the onward movement of the highest values, as with 14th, 23d, 34th and 42d streets in New York.
The rate of movement of cities is sometimes affected by the destruction of whole districts by fire, which brings up the question to owners whether or not to rebuild the same type of buildings on the same locations. In many cases a conflagration causes the erection of handsome new buildings in place of the old ones, so that a new period of higher utility arises. On the other hand, the destruction of individual buildings by fire will have, an unfavorable effect if tenants move elsewhere and owners do not rebuild.
The unfolding of a city, with its change in land utilization shows normally in the. case of any lot a slow increase in value up to a high point, after which a gradual decline takes place, with occasional fluctuations varying the main movement. Thus where good residences take the place of small suburban homes, a higher utility supplants the lower and when these good residences become old-fashioned and are converted into boarding houses, a drop in value will ordinarily occur. This is sometimes offset by the more intense utilization of the land, a larger rent being earned from more people even at lower rates. Moreover, property of this class having the prospect of being overtaken by business buildings has an anticipated value in advance of its yield. When retail stores arrive and become firmly established the high level of value is usually reached, this period lasting possibly thirty to sixty years. As the retail stores move on a lower utility succeeds - and usually a lower value unless the city's increase in population, more than offsets the drop in utility - wholesale houses being followed by storage warehouses, cheap tenements, dilapidations, etc, until sometimes land formerly the best in the city becomes so remote from the active business centre as to have little or no value.