Moderating Urban Sprawl through Land Value Taxation
This research evaluates the effects of a hypothetical land value tax as a smart growth policy to curtail urban sprawl in the mid-sized metropolitan areas of the Southeastern United States. The effectiveness of a hypothetical land value tax on moderating urban sprawl is determined by changes in demand for neighborhood open space, and its relationships with lot size and proximity to the central business district (CBD). Achieving this goal will (1) provide applied researchers with an empirical foundation from which the spatial dynamics of urban sprawl in local housing markets can be measured, and (2) provide policy makers, especially in the large and mid-sized metro areas of the Southeast, with an ex ante instrument through which alternative incentives targeting open space preservation can be evaluated. We estimate the effects of a hypothetical land value tax on urban sprawl gauged through the three metrics of demand for neighborhood open space, lot size, and proximity to the CBD by comparing the forecasted values of the demand for these goods under alternative land value taxation schemes. The first is a “regular property tax” when the tax rates on the assessed values of land and structures are identical. The second is a hypothetical “land value tax” that places more weight on the value of land than on the value of structures, holding annual total county tax revenue constant.
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