ON THE VALUE OF FOREGONE OPEN SPACE IN SPRAWLING CITIES

Authors


  • The authors wish to thank three anonymous referees and JRS co-editor Marlon Boarnet for excellent comments and constructive suggestions. We also thank Jan Brueckner, Christian Hilber, and participants of a seminar at CPB, of the 2011 Kuhmo-Nectar Conference and Summer School on Transport Economics, Stockholm, and of the 7th Meeting of the Urban Economics Association, Ottawa, for helpful comments. Jan Rouwendal acknowledges financial support from the National Science Foundation (NWO) through the “Economic evaluation of recreation” project.

ABSTRACT

Foregone benefits of the open space that is sacrificed through urban sprawl are hard to quantify. We obtain a simple benchmark measure by introducing a demand for trips beyond the urban boundary into the monocentric city model. The externality arises from the increase in travel costs that expansion of the city imposes on its prior inhabitants. An empirical application illustrates the moderate informational requirements. It indicates that open space externalities warrant rather mild restrictions on urban expansion.

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