Chapter 56

Sprawl and Urban Growth

Edward L. Glaeser     Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.1. Also affiliated with NBER

Matthew E. Kahn Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, USA.JEL classification: R14, R41


Cities can be thought of as the absence of physical space between people and firms. As such, they exist to eliminate transportation costs for goods, people and ideas and transportation technologies dictate urban form. In the 21st century, the dominant form of city living is based on the automobile and this form is sometimes called sprawl. In this essay, we document that sprawl is ubiquitous and that it is continuing to expand. Using a variety of evidence, we argue that sprawl is not ...

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