Exurbia, the rural area beyond the built-up urban and contiguous suburban area, is being developed rapidly with attendant losses in habitat and ecosystem services. This paper analyzes a spatial dynamic model with two production technologies for residential development—municipal sewer service for suburban development and septic systems for exurban development. In outlying agricultural areas, the additional sewer extension costs can significantly reduce the value of agricultural land in suburban use. Exurban development, while at lower density, can occur immediately and requires only the onsite conversion costs of septic systems. Hence, the willingness to pay for exurban use from households with higher preferences for lot size may exceed the agricultural landowner's reservation price on future suburban use for a range of distances from the city boundary. This results in a “feasible zone” for exurban leapfrog development and another fundamental reason for scattered development in the urban–rural fringe.
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