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My, What a Brisk Stride You Have

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Eric Jaffe recalls the history of studies into the phenomenon of fast walking in cities for Atlantic Cities' readers. Beginning in the 70s, researchers sought a clearer understanding of what drives speedy feet in big cities. The correlation between walking speed and population was firmed up and a theory posited that intense crowding triggered behaviors that reduced "social interference". Later, a study in 1989 tested the "cognitive overload" theory and concluded that economics played a big role too. Time is money for city dwellers, who face more burdensome cost-of-living. Finally, a 1999 study cemented the economic line of thinking by showing that the fastest walking cities were from wealthy and upwardly mobile countries. Which is why it's nice to work from home. [Atlantic Cities]