The Human Race and Space/Time poverty

When I found out that the human race was speeding up, by around 10% over the past decade, I deliberately walked around slower that day.

A study carried out in the early 1990s demonstrated that pedestrians’ speed of walking provides a reliable measure of the pace of life in a city, and that people in fast-moving cities are less likely to help others and have higher rates of coronary heart disease.

Using identical methods to those employed in the previous work, the present day research teams discovered that the pace of life is now 10% faster than in the early 1990s. The biggest changes were found in the Far East, with the pace of life in Guangzhou (China) increasing by over 20%, and Singapore showing a 30% increase, resulting in it becoming the fastest moving city in the study. More here from Richard Wiseman.

I find that rate of evolutionary acceleration a bit unnerving. And here I am, sleepless in Sydney at 4am, waiting for baby to arrive and now wondering if there’s any geo dimension to all of this. So here goes:

  1. A Google spreadsheet of the data
  2. geo-coding from Geonames, imported into the spreadsheet using importXML
  3. a flickr photo of someone walking in each city, imported into the spreadsheet using importFeed via a Yahoo Pipe. The photos don’t look too releveant, maybe I need to clean my pipe.
  4. some Google Maps code generated from Pamela Fox’s Spreadsheet Map Wizard

Space/Time poverty: how fast do people walk, where?

Click on the markers or list to see how fast.


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  • http://hitching.net/ Bob Hitching

    … so people in Singapore walk THREE TIMES FASTER than those in Malawi. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to both of those places and I can believe this. Particularly after that day we spent on the shores of Lake Malawi, where we slow roasted those racing goats over an open fire all day long, then lost count of the shooting stars. Not much walking was going on. What a beautiful part of the world.

  • http://hitching.net/ Bob Hitching

    … so people in Singapore walk THREE TIMES FASTER than those in Malawi. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to both of those places and I can believe this. Particularly after that day we spent on the shores of Lake Malawi, where we slow roasted those racing goats over an open fire all day long, then lost count of the shooting stars. Not much walking was going on. What a beautiful part of the world.