What is Distance Decay?

Distance decay describes the effects of distance on spatial or cultural interactions.

What is Distance Decay?

Distance decay is a term used in geography to describe the effects of distance on spatial or cultural interactions. Distance decay means that the interaction between locals declines as the distance between them increases. In other words, if the distance between two locales increases, then their interactions decrease. With infrastructure improving every day, this gap is slowly closing. With the construction of many roads and railways, moving from one region to the other is easier and faster which is causing the problem to be solved slowly. The distance is also minimized by modes of communication example being the telephone, letters, telegraph, broadcasts, and most recently the internet.

Effects of Distance Decay

Once the distance decay is dealt with, the population of pedestrians on the city streets increases. Some people visit the city to work and others to run different errands, and they can do so because of easier and quicker modes of transport. The streets are no longer empty with people moving up and down. The streets that were once quiet are no longer quiet and in major towns and cities, people are often pushing and shoving as they rush against time to accomplish their desires for the day. The shops in the cities have undergone major changes, moving from shops to convenience stores, and most recently to malls where you are bound to find everything under one roof. The prices of land have skyrocketed in towns and the surrounding areas and the buildings have now evolved into skyscrapers.

Representation of Distance Decay

Distance decay is represented graphically by a curve line that swoops downward with a concave appearance as the distance on the x-axis increase. Similarly, distance decay may be represented mathematically and is given by the inverse-square law. Distance decay is apparently visible in urban centers and can be seen in different aspects that decline with distance from the Central Business District (CBD). Such examples include the density of pedestrian traffic, the quality of shops, the quality of streets, the height of buildings, and the price of land.

Solution to Distance Decay

Distance decay was a great problem that affected people in the past since movement from point A to point B was greatly hindered. The mode of transport has developed over time from traveling on foot, to using camel and donkey backs, to motor vehicles and ships and even faster airplanes. Distance decay will soon become a thing of the past as technology continues to develop. The world is developing at a very fast pace with the developed nations encouraging their people to innovate. The renovation has seen talented people develop telecommunications from the use of telephone booths to mobile phones which almost every person owns. Growth has also been experienced with the development of the web where a person can get all the information they need in the comfort of their homes. The internet has also helped a lot in preventing distance decay to continue. With a good internet connection, one can do business in various nations unlike when they needed to travel for transactions to be made.

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