Development Patterns and Municipal Finances: An Analysis of Sprawl and Spending in 82 U.S. Cities Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • February 28, 2019
  • Welch, Patrick
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of City and Regional Planning
  • Sprawl has long been lamented in urban planning circles for its detrimental environmental, social, and financial impacts. However, most of the widely cited literature use theoretical models to measure the financial impacts and inefficiencies of sprawling development. This paper examines the relationship between sprawl and municipal finances empirically, by analyzing 23 separate financial categories in 82 of the largest cities in the United States between the years 2000 and 2010. First, the concept of sprawl is defined and a brief overview of existing literature on the impacts of sprawl is presented. Then, 23 separate multivariate regression models are created and analyzed using a sprawl index calculated by Hamidi and Ewing (2014) to predict each of the financial categories, including various expenditure categories, debt outstanding, and capital outlay. In line with existing literature, the research finds that there is a significant and negative relationship between sprawl and capital outlay expenses. More compact, accessible cities spend less on capital outlay. The findings indicate that urban form and land use patterns have serious financial implications and that cities should consider investments in compact, accessible development.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Song, Yan
  • Master of City and Regional Planning
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2017
  • 35
Deposit record
  • 438414a5-b73a-4a47-8084-ec4893ec0cc3

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