The Costs of Sprawl--Revisited

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Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - urban sprawl, economics - benefits, place - urban, literature review - literature review


Benefits, Costs, Definitions, Guides to the literature, Literature reviews, Urban sprawl


This report will be of interest to individuals involved in ongoing discussions and debates about urban sprawl and its effects. Section I provides a working definition of sprawl and its associated costs, then provides historical discussion, dating back to the early 1920s when zoning acts were initially developed, and to the 1950s when the term "sprawl" entered the planning literature. Section II contains a Literature Synthesis. This section systematically presents the literature on sprawl in chapters that focus on the following major areas of impact: public/private capital and operating costs; transportation and travel costs; land/natural habitat preservation; quality of life; and social issues. Section III of the report presents annotations of studies, organized in chapters that focus on the same five major impact areas as Section II. While this report will not resolve the debate on the benefits and costs of urban sprawl, it provides an important repository of information for the debaters. An Index is provided.


Permission to link to report given by TRB.