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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

A Note on the Value of Foregone Open Space in Sprawling Cities


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.


Jan Rouwendal and Wouter Vermeulen

2 February 2012     Paper Number SERCDP0101

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