IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/ulavwp/121692.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Are Compact Cities Environmentally (and Socially) Desirable?

Author

Listed:
  • Gaigne, Carl
  • Riou, Stephane
  • Thisse, Jacques-Francois

Abstract

There is a wide consensus among international institutions and national governments in favor of compact (i.e. densely populated) cities as a way to improve the ecological performance of the transport system. Indeed, when both the intercity and intra-urban distributions of activities are given, a higher population density makes cities more environmentally friendly as the average commuting length is reduced. However, when we account for the possible relocation of activities within and between cities in response to a higher population density, the latter may cease to hold. Because changes in population density affect land rents and wages, firms and workers re-optimize and choose new locations. We show that this may reshape the urban system in a way that generates both a higher level of pollution and welfare losses. As cities become more compact, agglomeration occurs and, eventually, the secondary business centers vanish. By increasing the average commuting length, these changes in the size and structure of cities may be detrimental to both the ecological and welfare objectives even if intercity trade flows decrease. This means that compact is not always desirable, and thus an increasing-density policy should be supplemented with instruments that impact the intra- and inter-urban distributions of activities. We argue that a policy promoting the creation of secondary business centers can raise welfare and decrease emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ulavwp:121692
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.121692
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/121692/files/CREATE2012-4.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.22004/ag.econ.121692?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gaigné, Carl & Riou, Stéphane & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2012. "Are compact cities environmentally friendly?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 123-136.
    2. Brander, James & Krugman, Paul, 1983. "A 'reciprocal dumping' model of international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3-4), pages 313-321, November.
    3. Gaigné, Carl & Wooton, Ian, 2011. "The gains from preferential tax regimes reconsidered," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 59-66, January.
    4. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H., 2001. "Deviations from purchasing power parity: causes and welfare costs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 29-57, October.
    5. Engel, Charles & Rogers, John H, 1996. "How Wide Is the Border?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1112-1125, December.
    6. 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.
    7. Haufler, Andreas & Wooton, Ian, 2010. "Competition for firms in an oligopolistic industry: The impact of economic integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 239-248, March.
    8. Timothy, Darren & Wheaton, William C., 2001. "Intra-Urban Wage Variation, Employment Location, and Commuting Times," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 338-366, September.
    9. Gaigné, Carl & Riou, Stéphane & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2012. "Are compact cities environmentally friendly?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 123-136.
    10. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-François Thisse, 2021. "Agglomeration And Trade Revisited," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Firms and Workers in a Globalized World Larger Markets, Tougher Competition, chapter 3, pages 59-85, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    11. Cavailhes, Jean & Gaigne, Carl & Tabuchi, Takatoshi & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 2007. "Trade and the structure of cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 383-404, November.
    12. Tabuchi, Takatoshi, 1998. "Urban Agglomeration and Dispersion: A Synthesis of Alonso and Krugman," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 333-351, November.
    13. 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.
    14. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Sprawl and urban growth," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 56, pages 2481-2527, Elsevier.
    15. Gaigné, Carl & Riou, Stéphane & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2012. "Are compact cities environmentally friendly?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 123-136.
    16. 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.
    17. Muniz, Ivan & Galindo, Anna, 2005. "Urban form and the ecological footprint of commuting. The case of Barcelona," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 499-514, December.
    18. Jan K. Brueckner, 2000. "Urban Sprawl: Diagnosis and Remedies," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 23(2), pages 160-171, April.
    19. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Gaigné, Carl & Riou, Stéphane & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2012. "Are compact cities environmentally friendly?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 123-136.
    2. Gaigné, Carl & Riou, Stéphane & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2012. "Are compact cities environmentally friendly?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 123-136.
    3. Christian Hilber & Charles Palmer, 2014. "Urban development and air pollution: Evidence from a global panel of cities," GRI Working Papers 175, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    4. Legras, Sophie & Cavailhès, Jean, 2016. "Environmental performance of the urban form," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-11.
    5. Kahn, Matthew E. & Walsh, Randall, 2015. "Cities and the Environment," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 405-465, Elsevier.
    6. Carl Gaigné & Jacques-François Thisse, 2013. "New Economic Geography and the City," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 13-02, INRAE UMR SMART-LERECO.
    7. Kim, Jinwon, 2016. "Vehicle fuel-efficiency choices, emission externalities, and urban sprawl," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 5(C), pages 24-36.
    8. Denant-Boemont, Laurent & Gaigné, Carl & Gaté, Romain, 2018. "Urban spatial structure, transport-related emissions and welfare," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 29-45.
    9. Larson, William & Yezer, Anthony, 2015. "The energy implications of city size and density," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 35-49.
    10. Dascher, Kristof, 2013. "City Silhouette, World Climate," MPRA Paper 48375, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Proost, Stef & Van Dender, Kurt, 2012. "Energy and environment challenges in the transport sector," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 77-87.
    12. Cárdenas Rodríguez, Miguel & Dupont-Courtade, Laura & Oueslati, Walid, 2016. "Air pollution and urban structure linkages: Evidence from European cities," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-9.
    13. Stéphane De Cara & Anne Fournier & Carl Gaigné, 2011. "Feeding the cities and greenhouse gas emissions: a new economic geography approach," Working Papers 1109, Chaire Economie du climat.
    14. Cavailhes, Jean & Gaigne, Carl & Tabuchi, Takatoshi & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 2007. "Trade and the structure of cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 383-404, November.
    15. Fremstad, Anders & Underwood, Anthony & Zahran, Sammy, 2018. "The Environmental Impact of Sharing: Household and Urban Economies in CO2 Emissions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 137-147.
    16. Legras, Sophie, 2015. "Correlated environmental impacts of wastewater management in a spatial context," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 83-92.
    17. Arata, Linda & Diluiso, Francesca & Guastella, Gianni & Pareglio, Stefano & Sckokai, Paolo, 2021. "Willingness to pay for alternative features of land-use policies: the case of the lake Garda region," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
    18. Sophie Legras & Jean Cavailhès, 2012. "Urban form and sustainable development," INRA UMR CESAER Working Papers 2012/5, INRA UMR CESAER, Centre d'’Economie et Sociologie appliquées à l'’Agriculture et aux Espaces Ruraux.
    19. Romain Gaté, 2019. "Efficiency of road pricing schemes with endogenous workplace locations in a polycentric city," Working Papers halshs-02335766, HAL.
    20. Rémy Le Boennec & Florent Sari, 2015. "Nouvelles centralités, choix modal et politiques de déplacements : le cas nantais," Post-Print hal-01657128, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental Economics and Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:ulavwp:121692. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/calvlca.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: AgEcon Search (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/calvlca.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.