Urban sprawlUrban sprawl is described as the establishment of housing and commercial development increasingly far from the city center.  What might be the effect on sprawl if it was the policy of...

Urban sprawl

Urban sprawl is described as the establishment of housing and commercial development increasingly far from the city center.  What might be the effect on sprawl if it was the policy of a city to build infrastructure-sewers, powers, and other essentials services-to this development at the average cost to the city?  If it built the infrastructure at the marginal cost to the city?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The sewers and other infrastructure have to be built in order to allow the sprawl. However as long as there are people willing to build and buy outside of the city proper, the infrastructure will be built because someone is getting money from the new building.
vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Reducing sprawl might be the effect if cities simply stopped building new and unnecessary infrastructure but focused instead on maintaining and enhancing the infrastructure already available. In almost every city I know, expansion means that already-developed areas go into decline. Strip malls sit empty while new malls are built farther away from the city center. This is not a wise use of taxes. Perhaps the current economic crisis will mean that cities will have far less money to waste in these ways.

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

There would likely be less sprawl or a different kind of sprawl. A city charging higher prices for extending city services would likely result in higher priced homes and land outside the city center. While this could mean there would be less sprawl, it could also mean there would be wealthier citizens moving into these ares. In the current economy, less sprawl is the more likely result. In past economic times, it would have meant higher priced home and neighborhoods of wealthier citizens. I don't think this type of pricing would stop all urban sprawl, but it would reduce or change the type of sprawl that occurs.
pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Sprawl would be reduced by charging for average costs but not for marginal costs.  If a city has infrastructure already built out to a certain spot, extending it will not cost as much (marginal cost) as the average cost per unit of distance for the whole infrastructure system would be.  Therefore, charging the average cost would result in a higher price and less sprawl.

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