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365 January 24, 2000

Critiquing Sprawl’s Critics

by Peter Gordon and Harry W. Richardson

Executive Summary

Although most Americans are living better ing it difficult for them to locate near areas
than ever, many now see “urban sprawl” as the that are growing economically.
source of most of society’s problems and “smart The argument that urban sprawl gives rise to
growth” as the logical antidote to those prob- excessively costly infrastructure, excessive transporta-
lems. That belief has spawned a host of local and tion costs, and environmental damage is wrong. The
state initiatives and been popularized nationally facts point directly to the opposite conclusion.
by Vice President Al Gore, who proposes to make Finally, the belief that urban sprawl leads to
urban sprawl a federal issue. social pathologies is without foundation. No
The assertions by the critics of urban sprawl one knows the recipe for good or bad commu-
do not stand up to scrutiny. Widely available nity formations or the best spatial mix of hous-
data undermine most of their claims. The ing that would accommodate myriad personal
charge that urban sprawl fosters inequality, preferences.
unemployment, and economic blight is dis- The American migration to the suburbs and
proven by the fact that lack of human capital, exurbs can, in part, be seen as attempts by home-
not workplace inaccessibility, is the main cause owners to move out of harm’s way and protect
of poverty. Moreover, smart-growth plans exac- their property rights. The controls proposed by
erbate the problem of workplace inaccessibility sprawl’s critics would add to the “push” forces,
by increasing housing costs for the poor, mak- resulting ironically in more sprawl rather than less.


Peter Gordon and Harry W. Richardson are professors in both the Department of Economics and the School of
Policy, Planning, and Development at the University of Southern California.
Advocates of decline, increasing housing costs, long com-
smart growth Introduction mutes, environmental problems (especially
global warming), species extinction, loss of
offer little analy- There is much to celebrate at the begin- farmland, a sense of isolation, elevated blood
sis or discussion ning of the millennium. The dignity of the pressure, muscle tension, intolerance, psy-
individual is increasingly recognized around chological disorientation, and even murder
of the costs, the the world, as evidenced by the spread of liber- and mayhem. Some have blamed the
implied tradeoffs, al democracy and free markets. There is more Littleton shootings on the “anomie and
the consistency of liberty and prosperity than ever. In the last 20 ennui that’s being produced in these envi-
years, child mortality rates in some of the ronments.”4
the vision, or even world’s poorest places have been halved,1 What exactly is urban sprawl? Although its
the consumer’s and, “even with conservative assumptions critics usually leave the term undefined or
desire for “New about future growth, someone born in 1995 simply equate it with “unplanned” growth, we
can expect to enjoy four times the lifetime use the phrase as a shorthand term for most
Urbanist” income of someone born in 1970. The record current suburban and exurban development.
communities. of the last century demonstrates two points: Although it is not always clear what smart-
Aggregate economic growth benefits most of growth plans really are, most discussions sug-
the people most of the time; and it is usually gest mixed-use and more compact (including
associated with progress in other social “infill”) land development with plenty of
dimensions of development.”2 mass transit, walkways, and bikeways.5
Moreover, we are beginning to under- Many advocates of smart growth are archi-
stand how this all came to be. Free men and tects and urban designers who perceive “a
women in control of their property are most growing sense that the suburban paradigm,
likely to be inventive and prosperous, and which has dominated since the 1940s and
prosperous people are most likely to prefer 1950s, cannot sustain another generation of
institutions that allow them to be free and in growth.”6 Peter Calthorpe, a prominent pro-
control of their property. To be sure, there are ponent of smart growth, is fairly specific
always people who wish to realize economic when he suggests a “New Urbanism,” a phi-
gains by taking the property of others or by losophy in which “there should be defined
rigging the regulatory game unfairly in their edges (i.e., Urban Growth Boundaries), the cir-
favor.3 Yet the increasing mobility of labor culation system should function for the
and capital forces governments to compete pedestrian (i.e., supported by regional transit
and behave in a manner conducive to free systems), public space should be formative
markets and liberty. Deviations from the “vir- rather than residual (i.e., preservation of
tuous cycle” should become less frequent and major open-space networks), civic and private
less severe. domains should form a complementary hier-
Nevertheless, many people still dwell on archy (i.e., related cultural centers, commer-
the inevitable shortcomings of society, cial districts and residential neighborhoods)
proposing “market-failure” explanations for and population and use should be diverse (i.e.,
what they find unattractive and constructing created by adequate affordable housing and a
arguments for new state interventions to jobs/housing balance).”7
remedy perceived social imperfections. The Unfortunately, advocates of smart growth
possibility that previous state interventions offer little analysis or discussion of the costs,
might be the source of the perceived problem the implied tradeoffs, the consistency of the
is seldom considered. vision, or even the consumer’s desire for such
“Urban sprawl” is a perfect example of communities. There is certainly no anxiety
that phenomenon. Urban sprawl is now over the loss of property rights—or over their
linked to all sorts of ills, including increasing politicization.8 The New Urbanist fallback
income inequality, job insecurity, central-city position that “building walkable neighbor-

hoods may not get people out of their cars and ban development. We will examine those
building front porches and neighborhood claims within the context of (1) the argument
parks may not create more integrated con- that present community-growth patterns
vivial communities, . . . [but] people should be foster inequality, unemployment, and subop-
given a choice”9 ignores the fact that develop- timal economic development; (2) the claim
ers already offer a wide range of community that “sprawl” is responsible for excessively
and housing choices. Developers decide what costly municipal infrastructures, inefficient
sorts of communities to provide and what transportation patterns, and unnecessary
houses to build by investigating consumer environmental damage; and (3) the argu-
preferences, which reflect opportunity costs ment that uncontrolled growth is leading to
and consumers’ willingness to pay. Markets do alienation, assorted personal pathologies,
a better job of discovering consumer prefer- and communal breakdown. We find that
ences and providing desired goods and ser- widely available data undermine each of the
vices than does smart-growth planning. three critiques and that the case for smart
There is also no acknowledgment that growth is thus substantially weakened.
many similar experiments in social planning
have been tried before, with less than satis-
factory outcomes. Consider, for instance, Inequality, Unemployment, Markets do a bet-
how similar modern smart-growth theory is and Economic Development ter job of discov-
to the 1952 General Plan for Stockholm, ering consumer
which “proposed establishing new suburban Concerns about increasing income
districts, each for 10,000 to 15,000 inhabi- inequality run up against several problems: preferences and
tants, strung like beads along the lines of a (1) it is not clear that inequality is “bad,” providing desired
new subway system. Within them, apartment although widespread poverty surely is;13 (2) it
blocks were to be built within 500 yards of is not the case that inequality among races or goods and ser-
subway stops; single-family houses, consti- between the sexes has been increasing1 4— vices than does
tuting no more than 10–15 percent of hous- studies on wage, income, and expenditure smart-growth
ing units in each district, were to be built inequality all tell a different story; (3) income
within 1000 yards of the stops but no further. mobility is what counts for most people and planning.
. . . The city’s policy was that each station on is probably increasing;1 5 and (4) it is far from
the subway should generate enough traffic to clear that income inequality has any direct
make it self-supporting.”1 0 relationship with urban structure or settle-
Stockholm’s General Plan, however, did ment patterns. In this section, we focus on
not work out as planned. Surveys in the late the last of these problems.
1970s found that 90 percent of Stockholm’s
residents preferred single-family homes.1 1 Migration and Technological Evolution
Not surprisingly, a more recent Swedish The suburbanization of population and
planned development is described as follows: employment is not a new phenomenon. For
“A vast linear Edge City of business parks and many years, most societies have been urban-
hotels and out-of-town shopping centres, izing and their cities have been expanding
stretching along the E4 highway, for twelve outward. Geographers have linked city exten-
miles and more towards the Arlanda Airport. sion to the dominant transportation tech-
It is almost indistinguishable from its coun- nology of the time, calling attention to the
terparts in California and Texas.”12 “Walking-Horsecar Era” (1800–1890), the
It is the purpose of this paper to critically “Electric Streetcar Era” (1890–1920), the
examine the long list of claims advanced by “Recreational Automobile Era” (1920–45),
proponents of smart growth, especially their and the “Freeway Era” (since 1945).16 The
central idea that most of the problems that current era of extraordinarily cheap commu-
they see in modern society stem from subur- nications continues (and perhaps accelerates)

a long-standing trend. That is why, to keep workplaces is occurring across the board in
up with suburbanization, official urban all major industrial and service sectors. There
boundaries are regularly adjusted outward. is no evidence that the best or most desirable
Yet, in the United States, change now out- jobs are disproportionately fleeing from tra-
paces the mapmakers, and substantial ditional urban centers.1 9
employment growth in recent years has gone Because of the lack of empirical evidence
beyond the officially recognized boundaries that a “spatial mismatch” is the cause of
of metropolitan areas. 17 For example, the inner-city unemployment, proponents of the
Bureau of the Census reported that, in argument rely on much more general evi-
1995–96, a quarter-million more people left dence of “social isolation and social access,”
metropolitan areas in the United States than which moves the discussion well beyond the
moved into them.1 8 conventional focus on urban space and com-
Whereas many firms, especially manufac- muting costs.2 0 The findings for four New
turers, were once attracted to sites close to Jersey metropolitan service areas (MSAs),
raw materials or to major crossroads or har- however, add perspective to the spatial mis-
bors, a variety of technological advances match discussion: most of the employment-
makes it possible for ever more firms to be rate differential between white and minority
“footloose” locators. The dramatic rise of youth was explained by differences in human
information technology simply accelerates capital, much less by differences in “expo-
an ongoing decentralization process. sure” or differences in geographic access to
Footloose firms are most likely to follow the jobs.21
labor force into the suburbs and exurbs. If workplace inaccessibility were a major
Most households seem to prefer suburban contributor to poverty, we would expect to
environments where single-family homes find that regions where jobs are relatively
dominate the housing stock. more accessible would have less poverty than
would those regions where jobs are relatively
Smart Growth’s Prescription for Poverty less accessible. Yet workplace inaccessibility is
It has been widely asserted that those probably less of a problem in New York City
trends have left large numbers of the poor than in any other place in the nation. Transit
“isolated” from many jobs and, therefore, use per capita is seven times the national
more likely to be unemployed. As a result, for average (37 percent of all 1997 transit board-
Involuntary critics of urban sprawl, inner-city unemploy- ings in the United States were in the New
ment has a spatial explanation as well as a York metropolitan area). Such data suggest
unemployment spatial-policy antidote: “balance” jobs with that, even for the poor without automobiles,
and poor job housing in various zones of the region via getting to and from work in New York is less
“managed” growth. Furthermore, some pro- of a burden than it is elsewhere. Yet, in 1997,
prospects more ponents of smart growth want to draw among the 10 largest American cities, New
often result from employment back to the central city, while York City had, with the exception of Detroit
a lack of human others want to bring work to “job-poor” in July, the highest monthly central-city
parts of the suburbs to create opportunities unemployment.2 2
capital than from for shorter commutes. A major problem that flows from smart-
the inaccessibility Even if we overlook the huge scale of spa- growth plans and the manipulation of the
tially matching jobs with housing, the supply of buildable sites is the inevitable rise
of workplaces. premise that it is an antidote to unemploy- of housing costs, which contributes to the
ment is false. Involuntary unemployment widely lamented housing “affordability”
and poor job prospects more often result problem. Twenty years ago, economists
from a lack of human capital (including warned that “environmental and growth
social networks) than from the inaccessibility controls have laid heavy cost burdens on
of workplaces. Moreover, decentralization of California homebuyers.”23 Today, Portland’s

growth boundary is credited with a 400 per- and 1997, the typical new home increased sub- Urban economists
cent increase in the price of land and an 80 stantially in size, and the list of standard have found that
percent increase in the price of housing, mak- amenities became longer.27 Moreover, home-
ing that area among the least affordable in ownership in the United States has reached an the alleged subsi-
the United States.2 4 Landowners inside the all-time high. The placement, pricing, and dies to suburban
growth boundary were spectacularly reward- configuration of upward of more than 1 mil-
ed by windfall gains, while renters and first- lion new units that annually clear the market
time homebuyers, generally among the less could be accomplished only by a competitive the extent that
well off, were hurt. Similarly, there were relo- industry that is keenly attentive to the wishes they exist—are
cations into areas beyond the no-build zone, of consumers. There are even several, often
which created even longer commutes for expensive, developments already on the minor and have
those who continued to work inside the ground that feature various New Urbanist fea- little effect at the
boundary as well as significant new infra- tures. Arguments that developers are insensi-
structure costs. tive to consumer preferences strain credulity.

Housing-Market Failures? The Subsidy Excuse

The power of markets to promote the effi- Critics of sprawl point to a wide array of
cient use of resources is a key part of the factors that could explain why we see
explanation for the vastly enhanced material Americans choosing to live in “sprawling”
condition of humanity. Yet urban land and areas: favorable federal tax treatment of
housing markets are presumed to fail by mortgage interest and property taxes, zoning
many observers. Proponents of smart growth codes that favor low densities, comparatively
see waste and inefficiency in the ways that low gasoline taxes, highways built “at the
cities are developing. But is that really so? Are expense of transit,” large-lot residential zon-
there significant market failures? Or is it real- ing, local tax inducements to industrial loca-
ly that the critics of the suburbs are unhappy tors, and many others.2 8 There are two prob-
with people’s tastes, which are revealed in the lems with those explanations.
residential communities that they demand The first problem is that the effects of such
and get? factors are often exaggerated. Urban econo-
“Perfect” markets exist only on paper; it is mists have found that the alleged subsidies—
easy to find real-world departures from some to the extent that they exist—are minor and
idealized model. Yet the competitive nature have little effect at the margin.2 9 The second
of the U.S. construction industry is apparent. problem is that critics of sprawl overlook the
There were 114,000 general contractors many policies that favor central cities, such as
engaged in residential construction in the downtown renewal, subsidized stadia placed
United States in 1992.2 5 Moreover, Dun & in central cities, and heavily subsidized down-
Bradstreet data reveal that construction town-focused rail transit systems. Perhaps the
industry business starts regularly occur at truth is that not all government interventions
higher rates than for industry overall, sug- that influence land development have had a
gesting above-average ease of entry. suburban bias, as a General Accounting Office
Numerous surveys show consistency between report concluded.30
people’s overwhelming stated preferences for Also, it is becoming increasingly evident
low-density living and their revealed prefer- that widespread automobile ownership and
ences in the housing market.2 6 suburban land-use patterns are evolving in
The new houses entering the market are, Western Europe and Canada, where policies
on average, bigger and better than ever. The (most of them strongly favoring compact
preference for larger houses is most likely to be development) are very different.31 Per capita
met in outlying locations where combined automobile ownership has been increasing in
land and access costs are lower. Between 1970 countries that are members of the

Organization for Economic Cooperation levels and traffic conditions that would
and Development at more than twice the appall Americans.
U.S. rate for the past 20 years and will con- People are attracted to the suburbs for rea-
verge with U.S. rates by 2015.3 2 Despite poli- sons that go beyond housing quality and
cies designed to curb suburbanization and affordability. Suburban lifestyles offer job,
automobile ownership, people in those coun- shopping, and social arrangements that seem
tries seem to be continuing both trends. to work well for many people. Net migrations
Some opponents of sprawl see the decen- out of the higher-density 19th-century central
tralization of American cities as “path depen- cities continue unabated. Critics who assert
dent: technological innovations helped chart that “sprawl systematically deprives inner-city
an early course that has determined, and residents of opportunities and adequate ser-
been amplified by, subsequent events.”33 The vices”3 6 have their cause and effect backward.
trouble with that view of technology is that it In any migration, there are push and pull
leaves no room for people’s preferences to be forces. People are making moves that are in
the impetus for technological change. The their best interests; they are leaving less suit-
view that technological change is an exoge- able and less attractive surroundings.
nous juggernaut has been forcefully chal- Critics of sprawl talk of central cities “los-
Studies find that, lenged. 34 Furthermore, the much-decried ing” jobs, people, and capital. Such arguments
as income rises, interstate highway program, begun in 1956, imply that we should be more concerned about
automobile use is not strong evidence for the path-depen- the economic prosperity of certain places than
dency argument. Although the interstate the economic prosperity of actual people. That
rises even faster, program was certainly too large a program to line of argument is similar to one adopted by
regardless of the have had no effect on migration to the sub- trade protectionists, who are perennially more
urbs, there was significant suburbanization concerned about the loss of jobs than the high-
presence of mass before 1956 and there is much of it in coun- est and best use of human capital. In the fast-
transit. tries without infrastructure programs on the paced modern economy, the key to prosperity
scale of the interstate highway program. The lies in flexible markets where participants are
relative sparseness of highway networks in able to exploit new opportunities quickly.
other countries doesn’t so much keep people Augmenting the role of regulators, especially
downtown as it leads to high levels of traffic growth controllers, is more costly than ever. A
congestion, especially in cities or along major recent incident in Portland evokes comparisons
interurban corridors. with European-style anti-job policies: a stipulat-
ed $1,000 per employee annual exaction is to be
The Missing Human Equation levied by a suburban Portland county on Intel if
The futility of the attempt to pack people the company hires beyond a negotiated
into tightly urbanized areas, discourage car employment ceiling.37
ownership, and heavily subsidize mass tran-
sit can be seen in the miserable traffic and
commuting conditions in such places as Infrastructure,
Seoul, Athens, Rome, Tokyo, Jakarta, and Transportation, and
Paris. More newly affluent people are choos- Environment
ing personal transportation despite widely
available transit and despite the absence of Older and more compact urban forms are
freeways and American-style highway net- costly in many ways: building vertically, endur-
works. Studies find that, as income rises, ing crowded roads and facilities, and living in
automobile use rises even faster, regardless of small spaces all incur extra costs. Bearing
the presence of mass transit.3 5 Those people those costs may have made sense in the past,
also have fewer suburb-to-suburb commut- when Americans were less mobile than they
ing opportunities. The result is congestion are today. It is the newer and flatter suburbs

that benefit from newer infrastructure, which cent traveled longer than 60 minutes. The
is less costly to install and maintain.3 8 longer trips included a disproportionately larg-
The Real Estate Research Corporation’s er number of public-transit riders. Trip-time
1974 Costs of Sprawl report used questionable changes since 1980 have been minor in spite of
simulations to make the case for infrastruc- significant population growth and much
ture savings associated with high residential faster growth in vehicle-miles traveled (VMT).46
densities.39 Although the methodology used The Nationwide Personal Transportation
renders the findings highly dubious,40 the Survey data highlight good news over an
conclusions have been widely cited. even longer time span: average commuting
Moreover, recent studies that attempt to times fell from 22.0 minutes in 1969 to 20.7
rehabilitate the approach are not very con- minutes in 1995.4 7 Yet in the 65 largest U.S.
vincing.4 1 Data show that (1) high-density urbanized areas, VMT grew much faster than
urban areas have the higher infrastructure roads (measured in lane-miles), resulting in a
costs, and (2) the lowest per capita infra- substantial increase in average traffic densi-
structure costs are in areas with 250–1,250 ties;4 8 nationwide, in the last 10 years, urban
people per square mile.4 2 Not surprisingly, all VMT grew at almost 2.5 times the rate of
of the 10 fastest-growing cities between 1990 urban lane-miles.49 The combination of more
and 19964 3 and all of the five fastest-growing people in more automobiles traveling more
one-million-plus cities between 1990 and miles at faster speeds without concomitant
19984 4 have population densities in that highway-capacity growth is an amazing
range. example of beneficial market adjustments. It
Finally, simple cost comparisons are nec- also exposes the erroneous interpretations
essarily incomplete: mere cost minimization routinely attached to “congestion indices,”
is not optimal. The benefits of suburban that is, comparisons of available metropoli-
lifestyles, clearly difficult to quantify, have tan lane-miles with recorded area VMT.
been widely ignored. Urban economic theory to the contrary,
most households do not choose locations by
Commuting: Fact and Fiction simply calculating the commuting time to
In spite of unpriced access, average highway work. Instead, most households consider
speeds keep rising as more commuting occurs tradeoffs among a wide variety of possible
on less congested suburb-to-suburb roads. In a destinations and other locational considera-
recent letter to the editor, Barry W. Starke, pres- tions. Most notably, families with children
ident of the American Society of Landscape rank access to good schools and other family
Architects, wrote that “sprawl is the kind of services at the top. Some urban economists In the absence of
unchecked and unplanned growth that creates have mistakenly concluded that those house-
appalling lifestyles marked by two-hour com- holds indulge in “excess commuting.” proper pricing,
mutes between decaying cities and traffic- Furthermore, in the absence of proper congestion, which
choked suburbs.”4 5 The writer fails to reveal pricing, congestion is inevitable. Congestion is the default sys-
how few two-hour commutes there are. is the default system for rationing roadway
According to Bureau of the Census data, the capacity. The real news is just how little high- tem for rationing
average (one-way) commuting time in 1990 way congestion there is. The suburbanization roadway capacity,
was 22.4 minutes (all modes). Suburb-to-sub- of jobs is the explanation for the relatively
urb commutes (within the same metro areas) low highway congestion; it is the solution, is inevitable. The
were even shorter, averaging 20.8 minutes. not the problem. real news is just
Suburb-to-suburb commuting accounted for Most people enjoy the personal mobility how little high-
44 percent of all metropolitan commuting in provided by the auto-highway system and the
1990 and is the fastest-growing type of flow. In suburban lifestyles that it makes possible. way congestion
1990 only 12.5 percent of commuters traveled Nevertheless, they bemoan its shortcomings, there is.
more than 45 minutes and fewer than 6 per- such as the inevitable pockets of congestion,

Since the mid- while resisting the logical antidote: peak-load be even less cost-effective. The 10 U.S. cities
1960s, more than pricing. Free access continues to be regarded that added light rail in the years 1980–95
as an entitlement. However, the problems of experienced a collective systemwide ridership
$360 billion of congestion can be avoided by restraining con- loss of 2 percent. Even the few systems that
public subsidies sumption by requiring the payment of the show modest gains are not close to being
full opportunity cost. cost-effective.5 5 Because transit is still pro-
has resulted in moted as a way to save energy, clean the air,
transit use per Mass Wishing about Mass Transit decongest the roads, and promote new land-
capita falling to a A favorite response to the dilemma of con- use patterns, it bears repeating that none of
gestion is to advocate high-capacity transit those things can possibly occur when rider-
historic low. systems in the hope that everyone else will ship gains are small or negative.
use them. A recent San Francisco Bay Area Although the failure of rail transit has by
Council opinion survey showed that 40 per- now been widely documented,56 expensive
cent of respondents ranked transportation as proposals for new rail projects are put forth
“the most important problem facing the Bay regularly, usually sold as a way to “get people
Area today” (education was a distant second out of their cars.” Even the transit industry’s
at 14 percent). The same poll found that to trade magazine recently noted: “At first
“expand public transit” was the first choice glance, the largesse of the Transportation
(82 percent agreed) among “effective ways to Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)
improve quality of life.”5 0 It is revealing to seems to have turned the U.S. rail projects
compare the attitudes expressed in public pipeline into a gusher. Indeed, the law enact-
opinion surveys with the preferences revealed ed last summer, the nation’s largest public
in actual transportation patterns. transport bill in history, authorized funding
Many politicians, planners, and advocates for more than 200 specifically identified proj-
of smart growth continue to stress the impor- ects over the six-year life of the law.”5 7 At the
tance of expanding public transit, especially height of the Cold War, there was supposedly
expensive rail transit. Yet conventional public at least one military base in every congres-
transit continues to be a declining industry. sional district; as a parallel, there may soon be
Since the mid-1960s, more than $360 billion a light-rail transit system in each U.S. metro-
of public subsidies has resulted in transit use politan area.
per capita falling to a historic low. Only 1.8 Responding to the poor record of recently
percent of all person-trips (2.1 percent of all installed rail transit facilities, advocates of
person-miles) are via public transit; that is sub- rail projects now promote “transit-oriented
stantially less than trips on foot (5.4 percent of development” (TOD), a key element of smart
person-trips) but slightly greater than trips by growth, as a way to create development den-
school bus (1.7 percent of person-trips).51 sities around train stations in order to ensure
Transit work-trips make up 3.5 percent of adequate patronage. In support of that idea,
both person-trips and person-miles.5 2 Yet, some studies have found slightly higher tran-
between 1977 and 1995, public transit sit use by people living in densely developed
received more than 15 percent of all public areas near stations.58 From this it is inferred
money spent on transportation.53 that forcing high-density development will
Vast sums have been spent on the wrong generate greater transit use. Yet the obvious
transportation projects (usually rail) admin- logical fallacy is ignored: even if there are
istered by politicized (and often unionized) some people willing to trade low density for
monopolies. The disappointing results from transit access, it does not follow that others,
several new heavy-rail projects (Los Angeles’s somehow compelled to live at higher densi-
$5 billion 16-mile subway project, among ties, will choose the same tradeoff.5 9 A wide-
others) have led rail boosters to emphasize spread and powerful preference for personal
light rail.5 4 Yet the light-rail systems tend to mobility cannot be so easily dismissed.

“Although empirical evidence on the rela- tive types of transit are low cost (even when
tionship between residential density and var- subsidized), they lack the built-in pork-barrel
ious aspects of travel behavior has been wide- constituencies attached to rail projects.
ly reported,” observes economist Don
Pickrell of the U.S. Department of Sprawl and Environmental Degradation
Transportation, “surprisingly little of it with- What are the environmental conse-
stands scrutiny. . . . None of these results quences of sprawl? Critics of sprawl offer a
explicitly recognizes the critical influence of long list of environmental concerns: some
differences in income, household size, gaso- critics emphasize the well-known problems
line prices, and automobile taxation.”6 0 The associated with common-property resources;
consensus of economists who have studied others stress the “finiteness” of resources and
the issue, reports Pickrell, is that “relation- embrace vague notions of “sustainability.”6 6
ships between land use characteristics—such Those critics ignore the substantial steward-
as residential and employment density, mix- ship inherent in asset ownership as well as
ing of different uses, and the relative distri- falling commodity prices.67 Evidence of the
bution of employment and population—and long-term decline in natural resource prices
measures of urban travel demand are gener- has been available for many years;6 8 however,
ally empirically weak and often statistically such evidence has not satisfied those who Cross-sectional
unreliable.”61 rest their case on “finiteness” and continue to studies corrobo-
While there are negligible differences in ignore the accelerating rate of technological rate the observa-
automobile trips per capita in TOD areas change and its beneficial consequences.6 9
compared with those in non-TOD areas, There are several responses to the environ- tion that high
there are many more people in the TOD mentalist critiques of sprawl: (1) we have development
areas. The higher density of people in those already shown that the traffic consequences
locations causes traffic conditions to worsen. of suburbanization are benign; (2) new fuel
densities are
After controlling for income and other mixes used in newer automobiles burn clean- associated with
household variables, studies find that a dou- er than previous mixes (“although total vehi- high congestion.
bling of densities would decrease VMT per cle mileage more than doubled between 1970
household by 10 percent—but with twice as and 1995, emissions of all auto-related pollu-
many households, there would be many tants declined”); 70and (3) trading arrange-
more trips.62 Other cross-sectional studies ments for market-based emissions rights are
corroborate the observation that high devel- promising ways to improve the environment
opment densities are associated with high at relatively low cost.7 1 Suburbanization does
congestion.63 That helps explain why higher- not lead to increases in commuting times,
density areas generally have the worst air pol- and, even in the absence of beneficial market
lution.6 4 Finally, the steepest losses in transit reforms, emissions per VMT are declining.
ridership in recent years have been in transit’s All the above factors suggest that attempts to
strongest markets, the 10 U.S. cities with con- rebuild cities and lifestyles in the service of
siderable rail transit capacity and relatively the environment are not simply undesirable
strong and high-density employment cen- but also unnecessary.
ters.6 5 It seems that the availability of mass Some critics have argued that the growth
transit options just won’t get people out of of suburbs imperils the nation’s food supply.
their cars. Those claims cannot be taken seriously. By
Unconventional forms of transit (includ- any measure, farmers today, requiring less
ing privately owned transit companies) and a land to grow more crops, are more productive
host of commonsense transportation man- than ever. That is why cropland use in the
agement approaches (including proper pric- United States peaked in 1930 and real food
ing) have received scant attention from prices continue to fall. The productivity
municipal authorities. Because those alterna- trends are so powerful that a land shortage is

inconceivable. Unfortunately, public concern “Great Disruption,” as Francis Fukuyama
over vanishing farmland seems impervious to called these trends in social disorganization,
facts; the concern dates to the late 1960s, and has occurred in all industrialized nations,
despite being discredited time and time again, encompassing a wide variety of physical
it continues to reemerge anew every decade or urban forms and structures.7 6 Modernity is
so.72 Even if shortage of farmland were to complex, and urban sprawl is only one of its
become a problem, land markets are always manifestations.
available to allocate land to its highest and Compact urban development is promot-
best uses, even back to farmland if necessary. ed not merely as a way to reduce automobile
The claim that individual farmers are use and create a demand for public transit—
harmed by rising land values induced by out- “New Urbanism” is widely sold as a way to
ward development is also unfounded. Rising foster close-knit communities and general
asset values are generally viewed as a positive, contentment. Yet no one knows the recipe
not negative, development for property own- for good or bad community formation, let
ers. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that alone an easy spatial fix. Nevertheless, Vice
farmers are reaping the benefits of suburban- President Al Gore’s criticism of sprawl articu-
ization.7 3 lates a widely shared view: “This kind of
Urban expansion into “environmentally uncoordinated growth means more than a
sensitive areas” is another contentious issue. long drive to work. It means that working
Conservation groups and their supporters can, families have to spend thousands of dollars a
of course, choose to buy and retire any parcel year or more on transportation costs. . . . It
(or its development rights if available) that they means mothers isolated with children far
want preserved. Public bodies can, given the from playmates, and older Americans stuck
power of eminent domain at their disposal, do in their homes alone.”7 7
the same even more easily. The challenge is to We have already shown that alarmist
identify the best areas for protection and to assertions of long commutes are widely off
raise the funds to purchase them. the mark. The few people who do choose
While that approach is occasionally prac- longer commutes presumably have their rea-
ticed, “greenline” advocates seek something sons for doing so. Are many people alone and
quite different: the imposition of easements stranded? Are there increasing numbers of
at the expense of property rights. That tactic such people? Are they more likely to be iso-
has three serious drawbacks: (1) it might vio- lated if they live in the suburbs? The answer
late constitutional safeguards against “tak- to those questions is a clear no.
Even if shortage ings”;7 4 (2) it attaches new uncertainties to There are few reliable data sources that
property ownership; and (3) it inevitably describe the nature of community in
of farmland were results in the suboptimal use of land. America. We utilized travel information from
to become a the NPTS data files. The broad NPTS trip-
problem, land purpose categories reveal that in 1995
Alienation, Community, approximately 20 percent of all person-trips
markets are and Social Pathologies (all modes) were for commuting and other-
always available wise work-related travel, another 20 percent
Although today’s social problems—crime, were for shopping, and most of the rest were
to allocate land divorce, family disintegration, and illegiti- for personal and social purposes (Table 1). If
to its highest and mate teenage pregnancy—have been well doc- we count the 25 percent of person-trips that
best uses, even umented, the reasons for those problems are are for “Social and Recreational” purposes
not well understood. In recent years, some (including vacation, visiting friends and fam-
back to farmland people have decided that urban sprawl is the ily, and other related trips), plus the 24 per-
if necessary. source of those problems and smart growth cent for “Other” for “Family and Personal”
is the solution.75 Yet we also know that the trips, plus a small portion of the 9 percent for

Sprawl’s critics “Civic, Educational, and Religious,” we find socially. They leave behind old neighbor-
presume that that more than one-half of all person-trips are hoods and networks. They choose the trade-
for social and personal reasons. If shopping is offs that they consider best for them—“maxi-
people are con- also considered a social activity, the propor- mizing their utility,” to use economic jargon.
sistently making tion is much higher. We have shown that this Consider, for example, a recent survey
trend has continued since 1983, and that it is conducted by the Los Angeles Times. It was dis-
the “wrong” associated with increasing affluence.7 8 covered that, of the 2,385 suburbanites inter-
choices and that Comparisons over a longer time span can viewed by the newspaper, “the people who
they have only be made by looking at vehicle-trips over the live in the suburbs generally love their lives.
period 1969–95 (see Table 2). Work trips as a And the farther they get from Los Angeles,
poor choices share of all household vehicle-trips have the more they love them.”8 0 Sprawl’s critics
from which to declined steadily.7 9 During the same period, presume that people are consistently making
“Family and Personal” trips increased from the “wrong” choices and that they have only
select. Neither
31 percent in 1969 to 50 percent in 1995. poor choices from which to select. Neither
proposition is Within that category, the share of shopping proposition is plausible, and both evince a
plausible. vehicle-trips grew by 41 percent, from 15.3 to disrespect (often bordering on contempt) for
21.6 percent, while the share of “Other” for the wishes of people whose tastes are not
“Family and Personal” vehicle-trips increased shared by the anti-sprawl activists.
by 93 percent, from 14 to 27 percent. The Two contemporary migrations are auspi-
nation’s share of suburban residents contin- cious: (1) the migration to the outer suburbs,
ued to grow significantly, rising from 37 per- exurbs, and rural areas (already discussed) and
cent in 1970 to 46 percent in 1990. (2) the migration to private communities
If the critics of urban sprawl are right, we (homeowners’ associations, condominium
could assume that (1) suburban residents associations, and especially gated communi-
would take fewer social trips than would ties). In 1998 there were 205,000 neighbor-
nonsuburban residents and (2) the trips that hood associations involving 42 million people;
the suburban residents take would be longer. there were only 500 of such associations in
Is that the case? The 1990 NPTS data can be 1962 and just 10,000 in 1970.81 Such associa-
compiled by place of residence, whether or tions adopt the institutional arrangements
not respondents lived inside an MSA, and, if that internalize the costs of the collective deci-
they did, whether they resided inside or out- sions and minimize negative externalities.
side central cities. Table 3 shows that, within Those types of associations are also likely to
MSAs, households both inside and outside include the amounts and the kinds of open
central cities allocate their trip times and spaces that their member-residents want.
mileage in approximately the same manner. The two migrations are, of course, lament-
Accordingly, the available data do not sup- ed (and scorned) by New Urbanists (although
port the alarming picture, painted by Al Gore several New Urbanist communities in prac-
and others, of socially isolated suburbanites. tice adopt the private association format)
The critics, however, base their assertions not who never connect “livability” with the choic-
on evidence but on anecdotes, which they use es made by real people. The 10 fastest-grow-
to justify suggested sweeping policies to ing U.S. cities between 1990 and 1996 (men-
impose drastic lifestyle changes. tioned above) were all in the Sunbelt; were for
the most part suburban, low-density areas;
and reported comparatively low per capita
Conclusion municipal expenditures.
Both types of migration can be character-
Upward mobility is at the core of the ized as people’s attempts to move out of
American Dream. In prosperous times, peo- harm’s way and to secure their property
ple are likely to “move on,” both spatially and rights.8 2 It is ironic that the collectivists’ urg-

ings to increase regulation and diminish pri- Notes
vate property rights will only exacerbate the
migrations that they deplore. Suburbani- 1. “Child Mortality,” The Economist, October 10,
1998, p. 110.
zation as a response to people’s preferences
(and technological change) is natural and 2. Joseph E. Stiglitz and Lyn Squire, “International
efficient. Policies (existing as well as pro- Development: Is It Possible?” Foreign Policy 110
posed) that worsen the conditions that (Spring 1998): 138–51.
“push” people out of the inner city are nei- 3. Fred S. McChesney, Money for Nothing: Politicians,
ther natural nor efficient. Rent Extraction and Political Extortion (Cambridge,
The smart-growth platform relies on Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997).
“the romantic image of the benevolent and
4. Neal R. Peirce, “Littleton’s Legacy: Our Subur-
capable state.”8 3 In the words of Nobel lau- ban Dream Shattered,” Houston Chronicle, June 6,
reate James Buchanan, “The romance of 1999, p. 3. The same theme was repeated by
socialism, which is dependent both on an Richard Rodriguez on a NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
idealized politics and a set of impossible segment that aired on June 29, 1999.
behavioral presuppositions, has not yet dis- 5. Charles Schmidt, “The Specter of Sprawl,” En-
appeared.”84 The romance of activist envi- vironmental Health Perspective 106, no. 6 (June
ronmentalism coupled with the visions of 1998): A274–79. It is ironic that
urban designers shift the discussion of the
6. Peter Katz, ed., The New Urbanism: Toward an
the collectivists’
harms of urban sprawl from fact to rhetoric Architecture of Community (New York: McGraw- urgings to
and emotion. To give an example, in his Hill, 1994), p. xiii.
well-known September 1998 talk at the increase regula-
7. Peter Calthorpe, “The Region,” in Katz, p. xiii.
Brookings Institution, the vice president tion and dimin-
praised Portland and its light-rail system, 8. Randall G. Holcombe, “Growth Management
saying that “it has attracted 40 percent of in Florida: Lessons for the National Economy,”
ish private prop-
all commuters.”8 5 Despite being wildly inac- Cato Journal 10, no. 1 (1990): 109–25. erty rights will
curate, the vice president’s assertion has only exacerbate
9. Peter Calthorpe, The Next American Metropolis:
been routinely repeated and usually passes Ecology, Community and the American Dream (New
without challenge. In fact, all combined York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1993), p. 10.
the migrations
transit in Portland serves only slightly more that they deplore.
than 5 percent of the workforce, and light 10. Peter Hall, Cities in Civilization (New York:
Pantheon Books, 1998), pp. 862–63.
rail carries less than 15 percent of the tran-
sit total.8 6 11. Ibid., p. 876.
Finally, the tradeoff between equity (no
matter how defined) and efficiency is 12. Ibid., p. 878.
nowhere to be found in the discussions of 13. Finis Welch, “In Defense of Inequality,” Papers
urban sprawl. Instead, we see a battery of pol- and Proceedings of the 111th Annual Meeting of the
icy instruments likely to make everyone, but American Economic Association 89, no. 2 (1999):
especially the poor, worse off. The most pow- 1–17.
erful antidote to poverty remains economic 14. Marvin Koster, Wage Levels and Inequality:
development, not politicized changes in liv- Measuring and Interpreting the Trends (Washington:
ing arrangements. Smart-growth prescrip- American Enterprise Institute, 1998).
tions weaken property rights and, as a result,
15. W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm, Myths of Rich
limit the power of markets to deliver growth. and Poor: Why We’re Better Off Than We Think (New
Notably, the scarcities imposed by such pre- York: Basic Books, 1999).
scriptions tend to be most injurious to those
in the lowest income brackets. In the final 16. Peter Mueller, “Transportation and Urban
Form: Stages in the Spatial Evolution of the
analysis, “smart growth” is a solution in des- American Metropolis,” in The Geography of Urban
perate search of a problem. Transportation, ed. Susan Hanson (New York:

Guilford, 1986), pp. 24–48. President’s New Sprawl Initiative: A Program in
Search of a Problem,” Heritage Foundation
17. Peter Gordon, Harry Richardson, and Gang Backgrounder no. 1263, 1999; Christian
Yu, “Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan Gerondeau, Transport in Europe (Norwood, Mass.:
Employment Trends in the U.S.: Recent Evidence Artech House, 1997); and Genevieve Guliano,
and Implications,” Urban Studies 35, no. 7 (1998): “Land Use Policy and Transportation: Why We
1037–57. Won’t Get There from Here,” Transportation
Research Board Circular, 1999.
18. U.S. Bureau of the Census, www.bls.census.gov/
cps/pub/1997/mobility.htm. 32. Joyce Dargay and Dermot Gately, “Income’s
Effect on Car and Vehicular Ownership
19. Gordon, Richardson, and Yu. Worldwide: 1960–2015,” Working Paper, C.V.
Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York,
20. Katherine O’Regan and John Quigley, “Where 1997.
Youth Live: Economic Effects of Urban Space and
Employment Prospects,” Urban Studies 35, no. 7 33. Nivola, p. 11.
(1998): 1187–1205.
34. Paul Romer, “Increasing Returns and Long-
21. Daniel Immergluck, “Job Proximity and the Run Growth,” Journal of Political Economy 94, no. 5
Urban Employment Problem: Do Suitable (1986): 1002–37.
Nearby Jobs Improve Neighborhood Employ-
ment Rates?” Urban Studies 35, no. 1 (1998): 15–27. 35. Gregory Ingram and Zhi Liu, “Determinants of
Motorization and Road Provision,” in Essays in
22. Economagic, www.economagic.com. Transportation Economics and Policy, ed. José Gomez-
Ibanez, William Tye, and Clifford Winston
23. Bernard Frieden, “The New Regulation Comes (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1999).
to Suburbia,” Public Interest 55 (1979): 16.
36. Robert Freilich and Bruce Peschoff, “The
24. National Association of Homebuilders, Social Costs of Sprawl,” Urban Lawyer 29, no. 2
“Housing Opportunity Index: Third Quarter (1997): 183–98.
1998,” www.nahb.com; and Alex Anas, “The Costs
and Benefits of Fragmented Metropolitan 37. Sam Howe Verhovek, “Fighting Sprawl, a
Governance and the New Regionalist Policies,” County Gets Intel to Limit Jobs,” New York Times,
Planning and Markets (1999), www-pam.usc.edu. June 9, 1999, p. A1.

25. U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics 38. Witold Rybczynski and Peter Linneman,
and Statistics Administration, as cited in U.S. “How to Save Our Shrinking Cities,” Public Interest
Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the 135 (1999): 30–44.
United States: 1998 (Washington: Government
Printing Office, 1998), Table 1190, p. 713. 39. Real Estate Research Corporation, The Costs of
Sprawl: Environmental and Economic Costs of
26. Richard Morrill, “Myths about Metropolis,” in Alternative Residential Development Patterns at the
Our Changing Cities, ed. John Fraser Hart (Baltimore: Urban Fringe (Washington: U.S. Government
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991). Printing Office, 1974).

27. Cox and Alm, Table 1.1. 40. Duane Windsor, “A Critique of the Costs of
Sprawl,” Journal of the American Planning Association
28. Pietro Nivola, Laws of the Landscape: How Policies 45, no. 2 (1979): 279–92.
Shape Cities in Europe and America (Washington:
Brookings Institution, 1999). 41. See Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade, and
Douglas, Inc. and ECONorthwest, The Full Social
29. William Fischel, The Economics of Zoning Laws: A Costs of Alternative Land Use Patterns: Theory, Data,
Property Rights Approach to American Land Use Methods, and Recommendations (Washington: U.S.
Controls (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Department of Transportation, 1998); and
Press, 1985), pp. 281–84. Transit Cooperative Research Program, TCRP
Report 39, “Costs of Sprawl Revisited,”
30. U.S. General Accounting Office, “Extent of Washington, Transportation Research Board,
Federal Influence on ‘Urban Sprawl’ Is Unclear,” National Research Council, 1997.
GAO/RCED-99-97, April 1999.
42. Helen Ladd, “Population Growth, Density
31. See Richard Morrill and Wendell Cox, “The and the Costs of Providing Services,” Urban Studies

29, no. 2 (1992): 273–95. 58. Robert Cervero, “Surviving the Suburbs:
Transit’s Untapped Frontier, Access 2 (Spring
43. Henderson, Nev.; Chandler, Ariz.; Pembroke 1993): 29–34.
Pines, Fla.; Palmdale, Calif.; Plano, Tex.; Las Vegas,
Nev.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Laredo, Tex.; Coral Springs, 59. Ray Brindle, “Four Titles Touching on
Fla.; and Corona, Calif. ‘Sustainable Transport,’” Road and Transport
Research 4, no. 1 (1995): 126–31.
44. Phoenix, Ariz.; San Antonio, Tex.; San Diego,
Calif.; Houston, Tex.; and Dallas, Tex. 60. Don Pickrell, “Transportation and Land Use,”
in Gomez-Ibanez, Tye, and Winston, p. 423. This
45. Barry W. Starke, Wall Street Journal, June 7, chapter is an excellent review of the literature on
1999, p. A23. the subject.

46. Alan Pisarski, “Commuting in America,” The 61. Ibid., pp. 431–32.
ENO Foundation, Washington, 1996.
62. In economic parlance, the elasticity of house-
47. Wendell Cox Consultancy, www.publicpurpose. hold VMT with respect to residential density is
com. approximately -0.1. Don Pickrell and Paul
Schmieck, “Trends in Personal Motor Vehicle
48. David Hartgen and Daniel Curley, “Beltways: Ownership and Use: Evidence from the NPTS,” in
Boon, Bane, or Blip? Factors Influencing Changes Searching for Solutions: Proceedings from the NPTS
in Urbanized Area Traffic, 1990–1997,” Center for Symposium, October 29–31, 1997, Report no. 17,
Interdisciplinary Transportation Studies, Univer- Federal Highway Administration, February 1999,
sity of North Carolina, 1999, WP 190. pp. 85–128.

49. Marilyn Gross and Richard Feldman, National 63. See Morrill and Cox; and Hartgen and Curley.
Transportation Statistics 1997 (Washington: Bureau
of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Department of 64. Randal O’Toole, “Dense Thinking,” Reason,
Transportation, 1997), Table 1-15. January 1999, pp. 44–52.

50. Sheila Muto, “Quality of Life: Traffic 65. The 10 cities and their respective transit sys-
Troubles,” Wall Street Journal, December 9, 1998, tems are the following: New York (NYCMTA),
p. CA4. Chicago (RTA), Los Angeles (LACMTA),
Washington, D.C. (WMATA), Boston (MBTA),
51. U.S. Department of Transportation, Our Philadelphia (SEPTA), San Francisco (Muni),
Nation’s Travel: 1995 NPTS Early Results Report New Jersey (NJ Transit), Atlanta (MARTA), and
(Washington: Office of Highway Management, Baltimore (MDMTA). See Brian Taylor and
Federal Highway Administration, 1997), Figure 15. William McCullough, “Lost Riders,” Access 13
(Fall 1998): 19–26.
52. Ibid., Figure 21.
66. Norman Myers, “Consumption: Challenge to
53. Nivola, Figure 3-1, p. 15. Sustainable Development,” Science, April 4, 1997,
pp. 53–57; and United Nations Development
54. Don Pickrell, Urban Rail Transit Projects: Programme, Human Development Report 1998
Forecasts versus Actual Ridership and Cost (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
(Washington: Office of Grants Management,
Urban Mass Transit Administration, U.S. Depart- 67. Julian Simon, ed., The State of Humanity
ment of Transportation, 1989). (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1995), pp.
279–322; R. David Simpson, “Mother Nature
55. Jonathan Richmond, “New Rail Transit Necessitates Invention and Technology Buoys
Investments—A Review,” John F. Kennedy School of Industry,” Resources 135 (Spring 1999): 5–8; “A
Government, Harvard University, 1998, Table 2-15. Raw Deal for Commodities,” The Economist,
April 17, 1999, pp. 75–76; and Jeffrey
56. For comprehensive summaries of the litera- Krautkraemer, “Nonrenewable Resource Scarcity,”
ture, see Charles Lave, ed., Urban Transit: The Journal of Economic Literature 86, no. 4 (1998):
Challenge to Public Transportation (San Francisco: 2065–107.
Pacific Institute for Public Policy Research, 1985);
and Gomez-Ibanez, Tye, and Winston. 68. Harold Barnett and Chandler Morse, Scarcity
and Growth: The Economics of Natural Resource
57. Cliff Henke, “More Cities Prepare to Join Rail Availability (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Club,” Metro, July 1999, p. 32. Press, 1963).

69. Richard Easterlin, Growth Triumphant: The Neighborhood: Rethinking a 50-Year-Old Con-
Twenty-First Century in Historical Perspective (Ann cept of City and Neighborhood,” Atlanta Journal-
Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996). Constitution, November 8, 1998, p. G1.

70. Arnold Howitt and Alan Altshuler, “The 78. Peter Gordon, Ajay Kumar, and Harry
Politics of Controlling Auto Air Pollution,” in Richardson, “Beyond the Journey to Work,”
Gomez-Ibanez, Tye, and Winston, p. 223. Transportation Research 22A, no. 6 (1998): 419–26.

71. Paul Portney, “Does Environmental Policy 79. The 1969, 1977, 1983, and 1990 results for
Conflict with Economic Growth?” Resources 115 this measure are from Patricia S. Hu and
(Spring 1994): 19–23; and Dallas Burtraw, Jennifer Young, 1990 NPTS Databook (Washing-
“Trading Emissions to Clean the Air: Exchanges ton: Office of Highway Information
Few but Savings Many,” Resources 122 (Winter Management, Federal Highway Administration,
1996): 3–6. U.S. Department of Transportation, 1993),
HPM-40, Table 5.31. For comparable 1995 data,
72. Julian Simon, Hoodwinking the Nation (New see Table 1.
Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1999), pp. 17–29.
80. Daryl Kelley, “As Suburbs Change, They Will
73. James Sterngold, “Dairy Farmers in California Satisfy,” Los Angeles Times, October 19, 1999,
Find Gold in Urban Sprawl,” New York Times, http://www.latimes.com/news/reports/suburbs/.
October 22, 1999, p. A1.
81. Robert Nelson, “Privatizing the Neighborhood: A
74. Roger Pilon, “Property Rights and Regulatory Proposal to Replace Zoning with Private Collective
Takings,” Cato Handbook for Congress: 106th Property Rights to Existing Neighborhoods,” George
(Washington, Cato Institute, 1999), pp. 203–21. Mason Law Review 7, no. 4 (1999): 1–54.

75. See, for instance, William Hamilton, “How 82. Peter Gordon and Harry Richardson, “Hayek
Suburban Design Is Failing Teenagers,” New York and Cities: Guidelines for Regional Scientists,” in
Times, May 6, 1999, p. F1. The social indictment of Essays in Honor of Ben Stevens, ed. R. E. Miller and
suburbia is so far-reaching that even obesity has M. E. Lahr (forthcoming, 2000).
been linked to urban sprawl. See Ann Carrns, “On
a Rainy Night in Georgia, What Can You Do but 83. James Buchanan, “Notes on the Liberal
Eat?” Wall Street Journal, October 29, 1999, p. A1. Constitution,” Cato Journal 14, no. 1 (1994): 2.

76. Francis Fukuyama, “The Great Disruption: 84. Ibid., p. 7.

Human Nature and the Reconstitution of the Social
Order,” Atlantic Monthly, May 1999, pp. 55–80. 85. Cited in Morrill and Cox.

77. Quoted in David Goldberg, “Your Next 86. Wendell Cox Consultancy.

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