Slowly moving up to the big city from the ever busy London underground, people are stepping past me on the escalator in a bid to get somewhere fast, it seems everyone is in a rush.
That was on Monday, by the Wednesday I was on the outside lane of the escalator speeding past people. Not because I was late just because London has a speed, a pace that sucks you in and before you know it you’re walking as fast as everyone else.
A study by Bornstein & Bornstein (1976) showed that the walking speed of pedestrians is positively correlated with the size of the city. They concluded the higher walking speed of people in larger cities was a psychological response to stimulatory overload. London certainly has this overload in plenty.
A new study by psychologist Richard Wiseman revealed that this walking speed has increased by 10% in the last decade. An article by the New Scientist reports on the study measuring the average walking speed over a distance of 18 meters in cities around the world, where surprisingly London is ranked 12th.
This pace of life is addictive, people want to come to the city, they want to get the perceived best jobs, to earn the best wages. However Companies in the North of England are now growing at the fastest pace seen in any UK region. It will be interesting to see the changes in the North, especially in Manchester over the next decade, with more and more industry moving here. The BBC have created media city, pulling in hundreds of new jobs and feeding the northern media houses. Will all this influx result in a different pace for the city and a different walking speed on the streets?