The Economic Problems Caused By Constraining Urban Growth
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Policy Brief

The Economic Problems Caused By Constraining Urban Growth

Urban growth boundaries effectively exert an extremely regressive tax upon cities, imposing far greater everyday costs on young or low-income residents, and first-time home buyers.

Over the past 30 years, elected officials have enacted policies and regulations that restrict the growth of cities and their economies within a confined border, supporting a recent urban planning trend called “urban growth boundaries.” In many cases, these are not strict boundaries but rather large-lot zoning, agricultural reserves or large amounts of land set aside for park purposes. While proponents cite many assumed benefits of living at higher density, such as a reduction in travel distances, a more active lifestyle, a reduction in greenhouse gases (particularly CO2 emissions) and the protection of farmland, there is one widely agreed negative of such policies—increased home prices leading to displacement of existing residents.

Policy Brief: The Economic Problems of Constrained Urban Growth

Phil Hayward is an independent writer and researcher in the fields of transportation and land use.