The Costs of Urban Sprawl

Special Report: Low Density and Costs of Urban Development
By Sonia Guelton, Françoise Navarre

Urban sprawl has been a continuous trend for several decades. It is of public interest to improve knowledge on costs and possible benefits of urban sprawl, especially in a policy context where questions arise about the opportunity to densify the town centres. What is more cost-effective between urban densification and urban sprawl? What are the benefits expected from public expenses? The article reviews previous studies and summarizes the main conclusions. This review identifies the most commonly used indicators and methods of analysis. However the studies came to divergentconclusions. Therefore, this article goes on to present conclusions of two new case studies which focused on the impact of urban development on Local Public Budgets. The method used consists of a cross analysis of socio-economic and public finance data from 1999 to 2006. Although limited to only two case studies, the main conclusion validates some of the previous studies and gives them a new perspective on territorial and financing processes.

Go to the article on