City Borders Have Pretty Much Always Been Defined By The 30-Minute Commute

Photo: joe daniel price (Getty Images)
Photo: joe daniel price (Getty Images)

Even with the proliferation of work-from-home employment during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, commuting is still a prominent part of society. Bloomberg’s Citylab explored how humanity’s cities have evolved and expanded as transportation has become faster over the past two centuries.

The size of cities remained relatively stagnant for around 1,000 years. Bloomberg compared how ancient Rome and medieval Paris were roughly the same size, mainly due to most people needing to commute on foot. Municipal boundaries paralleled rough estimates of how far someone could walk in 30 minutes, also known as the Marchetti Constant.

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