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Cornell Real Estate Review

Abstract

The classic dream of moving to a spacious, single-family home in the suburbs has led urban sprawl to become the standard pattern of American growth. Unfortunately, this type of growth—in the aggregate—has created a vast array of unintended consequences. From increased commuting times and traffic congestion to the degradation of ecosystems to the demise of the classic, American “Main Street,” sprawl has left its footprint on many facets of the environment and human life. Sprawl’s harms are often periodic and delayed, thus it is unlikely that the underlying issues causing and exacerbating the harms will ever be addressed. Further, as local governments predominantly regulate land use decisions, municipalities rarely, if at all, consider the statewide and regional harms their regulations may create in the aggregate.

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