Across the nation, the debate over metropolitan sprawl and its impact has become pivotal to urban planning. A decade and a half ago, Smart Growth America and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sought to raise the level of the debate by sponsoring groundbreaking research to quantitatively measure sprawl and its quality-of-life impacts. The resulting measures are widely used in urban research and public health.

Costs of Sprawl provides a panoramic guide to urban form in America, measures sprawl for metropolitan areas, urbanized areas, and counties, and studies the relationship between sprawl and quality-of-life outcomes. From this preliminary investigation, it looks like the costs of sprawl are varied and substantial, and the alternative of compact development is far superior.

An essential read for researchers, planners, urban designers, policy makers, and smart growth advocates in the U.S. and abroad, this book provides a comprehensive and detailed analysis of one of the most critical issues in planning today.


chapter 1|13 pages


chapter 2|8 pages

Updated County Sprawl Index

chapter 3|19 pages

Refined County Sprawl Measures

chapter 4|15 pages

Validation of County Sprawl Indices

chapter 5|15 pages

Traffic Safety

chapter 6|18 pages

Public Health

chapter 8|34 pages

Relationship of Sprawl to Topical Outcomes

chapter 9|16 pages

Urbanized Areas: A Longitudinal Analysis

chapter 10|7 pages

Case Examples for Planners