The Bilbao Effect, Without the Guggenheim

The May 2005 Scientific American contains an article on Measuring Beauty that cites David McGranahan’s 1999 study “Natural Amenities Drive Rural Population Change” for the US Department of Agriculture suggests that “climate, topography, and water area are highly related to rural county population change over the past 25 years.” McGranahan derives a natural amenities index that generally correlates with population change. McGranahan notes that regions value amenities differently: “In the Midwest, for example, people are drawn to lakes for recreation and retirement, while people are attracted to the West for its varied topography.” read more