Sprawl and Blight
The objective of this paper is to show how the same market failures that contribute to urban sprawl also contribute to urban blight. The paper develops a simple dynamic model in which new suburban and older central-city properties compete for mobile residents. The level of housing services generated by older properties depends on current maintenance or reinvest-ment expenditures. In this setting, market failures that reduce the cost of occupying suburban locations, thus leading to excessive suburban development, also depress central-city housing prices and undermine maintenance incentives, leading to deficient levels of central-city rein-vestment. Corrective policies that shift population from the suburbs to the center result in higher levels of reinvestment in central-city housing, therefore reducing blight.
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