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The causes of urban sprawl in Spanish urban areas: a spatial approach

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Listed:
  • Miguel Gómez-Antonio
  • Miriam Hortas-Rico
  • Linna Li

Abstract

WThis paper explores the role of interjurisdictional competition among local governments in fostering urban sprawl. The structure of local public finance along with housing and land-use policies make land a valuable commodity the supply of which is monopolised by local governments. This situation creates economic incentives for local governments (in terms of higher income and tax revenues) to influence development patterns and even engage in strategic interaction with neighbouring jurisdictions to compete for the creation of new residential areas. We empirically assess the presence of local spatial interaction in urban sprawl in Spanish urban areas. Thanks to the recent availability of a novel data set based on remotely sensed data from aerial photography and satellite imaging, we have been able to study urban development patterns across the country with unprecedented detail. We make use of GIS techniques to calculate a sprawl measure as the dependent variable and compile a database of independent variables on land use and topographic features, complemented with additional information on weather conditions, social, demographic, political and economic variables, which are then used in a spatial regression model. The results confirm our main hypothesis: there exists spatial interaction in the levels of sprawl between neighbouring municipalities, suggesting that local governments do indeed compete for the creation of new suburban settlement developments, hence promoting excessive urban sprawl.

Suggested Citation

  • Miguel Gómez-Antonio & Miriam Hortas-Rico & Linna Li, 2014. "The causes of urban sprawl in Spanish urban areas: a spatial approach," Working Papers. Collection B: Regional and sectoral economics 1402, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:gov:wpregi:1402
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Laura Varela-Candamio & Fernando Rubiera Morollón & Gohar Sedrakyan, 2017. "Urban sprawl and local fiscal burden: analysing the Spanish case," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1721, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    urban sprawl; spatial econometrics; strategic interaction; local governments.;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns

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