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 reinvestment 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 reinvestment. 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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