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Winter 2001, In Defense of "Sprawl"

Peter Gordon
For as long as there have been cities, most urban growth has been outward. This trend is accelerating in the modern era because of rapidly falling communications and transportation costs. Today, most growth in America as well as in other developed countries is not in the cities but in the outer suburbs and exurbs. This is significant in the U.S. because of the widespread assertion that suburbanization is a “problem” engendered by peculiar public policies (wideranging highway networks, favorable tax treatment of residential mortgage interest, zoning codes, low gasoline taxes, etc.). By contrast, many European and Canadian urban policies strongly favor compact development