Impact of Collisions, Co-Learning, and Connectedness on Upward Mobility in Downtown Las Vegas

July 13, 2019

The Downtown Project in Las Vegas is a for-profit entity that is looking to revitalize Downtown Las Vegas and encourage upward mobility. The cornerstone of the project is the Three C’s–Collisions, Co-Learning, and Connectedness. Collisions focuses on how someone is out and about in a public or semi-public way (in parks, bars, restaurants, and cafes) that encourages serendipitous encounters. Co-Learning is about people learning from each other in co-working spaces. Connectedness is about the number and depth of connections of people in the neighborhood. The Downtown Project believes that the Three C’s will produce upward mobility and defies traditional revitalization projects which feature expensive sports teams or a top research university. ( https://dtplv.com/three-cs/ )

The question now is: Is there evidence to show that the Three C’s are instrumental in producing more upward mobility? I turn to the data to show that Collisions, Co-Learning, and Connectedness are actually highly correlated with the percentage of the Las Vegas City population in the top 5% of earners, or those earning $200,000 or more. The percentage in the top 5% between 2010 and 2016 looks like this:

Top 5%3.80%3.90%3.60%3.40%3.50%3.50%3.70%

Source: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF

Looking at Collisions first, I measure Collisions by how much of recent alcohol use was in a semi-public or public way–at a park, beach, lot, restaurant, bar, club, or sports game. This measures how often people are out-and-about in a collisionable way. I name this measure: Collisions. The percentage of people who drank alcohol in a public or semi-public environment between 2006 and 2016 looks like this:


Notes: Figures for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 drop by half because some data were too small to report and were masked to preserve confidentiality. This is a limitation of the data analysis.

Source: http://datafiles.samhsa.gov/

The correlation coefficient between Top 5% and Collisions is 0.70:

Top 5%3.80%3.60%3.50%3.70%

Next, I turn to Co-Learning. I measure Co-Learning by looking at the annual payroll for NAICS Code 531120, which encompasses co-working spaces. The full definition of NAICS Code 531120 is:

531120 Lessors of Nonresidential Buildings (except Miniwarehouses)

This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in acting as lessors of buildings (except miniwarehouses and self-storage units) that are not used as residences or dwellings. Included in this industry are: (1) owner-lessors of nonresidential buildings; (2) establishments renting real estate and then acting as lessors in subleasing it to others; and (3) establishments providing full service office space, whether on a lease or service contract basis. The establishments in this industry may manage the property themselves or have another establishment manage it for them. 

Source: https://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=531120&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search

I call the annual payroll: Co-Learning. The annual payroll for Las Vegas entities in NAICS Code 531120 between 2012 and 2016 is:


The correlation coefficient between Top 5% and Co-Learning is 0.83:

Top 5%3.60%3.40%3.50%3.50%3.70%

Source: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=BP_2012_00A3&prodType=table

Finally, I turn to Connectedness. I measure Connectedness with how often a person spends a social evening with someone else who lives in the same neighborhood. I take the number of people who said “Almost daily” and divide it by all respondents and call this measure: Connectedness. (The Connectedness data is for the entire U.S. and not only for Las Vegas, Nevada.)

The correlation coefficient between Top 5% and Connectedness is 0.91:

Top 5%3.80%3.60%3.50%3.70%

Source: https://gssdataexplorer.norc.org/variables/522/vshow

The simple correlations shown here demonstrate that Collisions, Co-Learning, and Connectedness are highly correlated with upward mobility and lends credence to the argument that the Three C’s are instrumental to revitalization. The measures are approximate, but it is suggestive of a strong relationship between Top 5% and the Three C’s.

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