The purpose of this study is to better understand the factors that shape variations in rent across midsize cities in the U.S. We empirically test several theories (economic, sociological, and green theory) to discover what is explaining these differences. Our approach compares 146 semi-isolated, medium-sized U.S. cities and regresses economic, green and social characteristics on the monthly median contract rent. Our results show weaknesses in the economic and sociological explanations with green characteristics adding greater explanatory power to what shapes inter-city rent differentials. Our results indicate that cities that are considered walkable and have lower pollution levels tend to have statistically significant higher rents—a finding which has implications for understanding rent variations and for planners and citizen groups who pursue more livable places. During an era of the great pandemic/COVID-19 health crisis, we believe that citizens will pay more rent for cities that are more walkable and have less pollution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Urban Studies