Sprawl and the Free Market

This piece from The Freeman looks at the debate over sprawl and whether free market economics encourage it or offer a solution.

"The exchanges focus mainly on zoning rather than other interventions that have been identified over the years as factors that abet sprawl. These include federal subsidies to construct the 46,876-mile-long interstate highway system and intra-urban freeway systems, both of which have made living in the less-expensive fringes of cities cheaper for urban commuters - not to mention federal subsidies for the construction of water mains, sewers, telecommunication lines, and, as we all should be well aware of today, direct and indirect subsidies to single-family home ownership via Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and a slew of federal policies intended to promote single-family home ownership, dating back to the Great Depression, including the income-tax deduction for mortgage interest."

The article suggests briefly that the demand curve for sprawl goes down over time, though that assertion is not fully explained.

Full Story: The Demand Curve for Sprawl Slopes Downward

Comments

Comments

Downward Sloping Demand For Sprawl

Downward sloping demand curve is the economist's way of saying that, as price goes up, quantity goes down. He explains it when he says:

"But the bottom line is that the law of demand still holds – other things equal, the cheaper you make something the more of it people will want to buy, and that includes low-density development. You’ll get more of that, too, if those direct and indirect subsidies make it cheaper for people to get it."

Charles Siegel

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