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Are compact cities environmentally friendly?

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  • GAIGNE, Carl
  • RIOU, Stéphane
  • THISSE, Jacques François

Abstract

There is a large consensus among international institutions and national governments to favor urban-containment policies - the compact city - as a way to improve the ecological performance of the urban system. This approach overlooks a fundamental fact: what matters for the ecological outcome of cities is the mix between the level of population density and the global pattern of activities. As expected, when both the intercity and intraurban distributions of activities are given, a higher population density makes cities more environmentally friendly. However, once we account for the fact that cities may be either monocentric or polycentric as well as for the possible relocation of activities between cities, the relationship between population density and the ecological performance of cities appears to be much more involved. Indeed, because changes in population density affect land rents and wages, firms and workers are incited to relocate, thus leading to new commuting and shipping patterns. We show that policies favoring the decentralization of jobs may be more environmentally desirable.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -2404.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-2404

Note: In : Journal of Urban Economics, 72(2-3), 123-136, 2012
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References

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  1. James Brander & Paul Krugman, 1982. "A 'Reciprocal Dumping' Model of International Trade," Working Papers 513, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Sprawl and Urban Growth," NBER Working Papers 9733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Haufler, Andreas & Wooton, Ian, 2010. "Competition for firms in an oligopolistic industry: The impact of economic integration," Munich Reprints in Economics 19925, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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  5. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H, 1996. "How Wide Is the Border?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1112-25, December.
  6. Carl Gaigné & Stéphane Riou & François Thisse, 2010. "Are compact cities environmentally friendly?," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 10-05, INRA UMR SMART.
  7. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2010. "The greenness of cities: Carbon dioxide emissions and urban development," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 404-418, May.
  8. OTTAVIANO, Gianmarco & TABUCHI , Takatoshi & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Agglomeration and trade revisited," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1553, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Gaigné, Carl & Wooton, Ian, 2010. "The Gains from Preferential Tax Regimes Reconsidered," CEPR Discussion Papers 7814, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Jean Cavailhes & Carl Gaigne & Jacques-Rrancois Thisse, 2006. "Trade and the structure of cities," KIER Working Papers 623, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Bento, Antonio M. & Franco, Sofia F. & Kaffine, Daniel, 2006. "The efficiency and distributional impacts of alternative anti-sprawl policies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 121-141, January.
  12. Jacques-François Thisse, 2010. "Toward A Unified Theory Of Economic Geography And Urban Economics," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 281-296.
  13. Brownstone, David & Golob, Thomas F., 2009. "The impact of residential density on vehicle usage and energy consumption," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 91-98, January.
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  17. Kahn, Matthew E. & Schwartz, Joel, 2008. "Urban air pollution progress despite sprawl: The "greening" of the vehicle fleet," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 775-787, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Martin F. Quaas & Sjak Smulders, 2012. "Brown Growth, Green Growth, and the Efficiency of Urbanization," CESifo Working Paper Series 4044, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Kristof Dascher, 2013. "Climate Change and Urban Contours: Why Countries with Denser City Centers Fight Climate Change Harder," ERSA conference papers ersa13p744, European Regional Science Association.
  3. Carl Gaigné & Stéphane Riou & François Thisse, 2010. "Are compact cities environmentally friendly?," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 10-05, INRA UMR SMART.
  4. André De Palma & Alexandre Guimard, 2014. "Urbanism, an overview," Working Papers hal-00969574, HAL.
  5. Gaigne, Carl & Riou, Stephane & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 2012. "Are Compact Cities Environmentally (and Socially) Desirable?," Working Papers 121692, University of Laval, Center for Research on the Economics of the Environment, Agri-food, Transports and Energy (CREATE).
  6. Carl Gaigné & Jacques-François Thisse, 2013. "New economic geography and the city," Working Papers 188884, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  7. WUNSCH, Guillaume & MOUCHART, Michel & RUSSO, Federica, 2012. "Functions and mechanisms in structural-modelling explanations," CORE Discussion Papers 2012056, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Rémy Le Boennec, 2014. "Nouvelles centralités, choix modal et politiques de déplacements " 2.0 " : Le cas Nantais," Working Papers hal-00958700, HAL.
  9. de Cara, Stephane & Fournier, Anne & Gaigne, Carl, 2011. "Feeding the Cities and Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Beyond the Food Miles Approach," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114350, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  10. Jaume Masip Tresserra, 2013. "Sub-centres and Urban Inequality: A study on Social Equity in the Barcelona Metropolitan Region," ERSA conference papers ersa13p64, European Regional Science Association.
  11. Rainald Borck, 2014. "Will Skyscrapers Save the Planet? Building Height Limits and Urban Greenhouse Gas Emissions," CESifo Working Paper Series 4773, CESifo Group Munich.

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