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Thursday, March 09, 2006


Benefits of Sprawl

Matthew Kahn has posted a research paper on his blog titled The Benefits of Sprawl. Here are the first 2 paragraphs of the paper:
"Today, most Americans who live in metropolitan areas live in single detached homes and commute to work by automobile. New York City is America’s sole urban center where a significant fraction of the population lives in apartment buildings, works downtown and commutes by public transit. As transportation costs continue to decline and household incomes rise, we are choosing sprawl as we live and work in the suburbs.

The conventional wisdom is that this trend imposes major social costs relative to its benefits. An advanced Google search reveals that there are 39,500 entries for the exact phrase “costs of sprawl” while there are only 455 entries for the exact phrase “benefits of sprawl”. The beneficiaries of sprawl may be a “silent majority” who are not as politically active as center city boosters, environmentalists and the urban poor’s advocates in voicing their views on the merits of the ongoing decentralization of jobs and people taking place across cities in the United States.
This paper seeks to address this intellectual imbalance by presenting original empirical work documenting some of the benefits of living in a sprawled metropolitan area. This paper uses a number of U.S data sets to explore how sprawl improves quality of life. I focus on how sprawl affects firms, workers and consumers."
Perhaps someone would like to read the paper and gives us a summary in class?

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