Urban Sprawl Essay

1494 Words Jan 20th, 2014 6 Pages

Throughout this article, the main focus is urban sprawl and the non-endearing remedies to fix this growing concern. Three influential forces are the end results of urban sprawl: a growing population, rising incomes, and falling commuting costs. Although these sound positive to societies well being, market failures are distorting their positive social desirability. The allocation of agricultural land converted to urban usage has justified the criticism of urban sprawl by not accounting for the benefits of open space, social costs of road congestion, and developers failing to pay for the infrastructure costs generated. The remedies projected for these market failures in hope of alleviating the spatial
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Lastly the article proposes the question, does the invisible hand, which guides the conversion of land to urban use, push too hard in the direction of larger cities? The allocation of land is governed by competition between urban and agricultural use, but society has increasingly driven the land to urban use, by the want of bigger houses and more living space. The population growth with increased household incomes and improved transportation developments are believed to be responsible for the increase of urban sprawl (1).

The main issues of the sprawl include: the failure to account for social value of open space that is converted to urban use, people not recognizing the social costs of commuting, and real estate developers not accounting for the public infrastructure costs they generate. Individually, these issues are completely unrelated, but together they are all effects of urban sprawl. Cities now only take up a small portion of land in the United States. Policy makers have difficulty determining a monetary value on the social benefits of open-space land; this allows developers to easily outbid farmers. Critics state that to remedy this problem, the government needs to implement a tax on the land that is converted to urban use. But, critics then oppose a tax by observing this would be a counterproductive task, since in order to assign a policy for land conservation, there must be a monetary value placed

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