1999 volume 26(4) pages 555 – 571

Cite as:
Pendall R, 1999, "Do land-use controls cause sprawl?" Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 26(4) 555 – 571

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Do land-use controls cause sprawl?

R Pendall

Received 24 August 1998; in revised form 11 January 1999

Abstract. Low-density urbanization, also known as urban sprawl, has accelerated in the United States in recent years. In this article I will test the cumulative influence of locally adopted (municipal) land-use controls on sprawl. Land-use controls that shift the cost of development onto builders and away from the general public are found to reduce sprawl; those that mandate low densities are found cumulatively to increase sprawl, whereas urban containment systems have limited cumulative effects. Further, regions whose local governments rely on ad valorem property taxes to fund services and infrastructure tend to sprawl more than those that rely on a broader tax base.

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