cover of book

Sprawl Costs: Economic Impacts of Unchecked Development
by Robert Burchell, Anthony Downs, Barbara McCann and Sahan Mukherji
Island Press, 2005
eISBN: 978-1-59726-250-7 | Cloth: 978-1-55963-570-7 | Paper: 978-1-55963-530-1
Library of Congress Classification HT384.U5S67 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 307.760973


The environmental impacts of sprawling development have been well documented, but few comprehensive studies have examined its economic costs. In 1996, a team of experts undertook a multi-year study designed to provide quantitative measures of the costs and benefits of different forms of growth. Sprawl Costs presents a concise and readable summary of the results of that study.

The authors analyze the extent of sprawl, define an alternative, more compact form of growth, project the magnitude and location of future growth, and compare what the total costs of those two forms of growth would be if each was applied throughout the nation. They analyze the likely effects of continued sprawl, consider policy options, and discuss examples of how more compact growth would compare with sprawl in particular regions. Finally, they evaluate whether compact growth is likely to produce the benefits claimed by its advocates.

The book represents a comprehensive and objective analysis of the costs and benefits of different approaches to growth, and gives decision-makers and others concerned with planning and land use realistic and useful data on the implications of various options and policies.

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