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Sun, 01 Jul 2007
I went to Amazon to get more details on the book Zoned Out: Regulation, Markets, and Choices in Transportation and Metropolitan Land Use (RFF Press) , which explores the theories that sprawl is caused by market forces; that it exists because this is what people want. I used the "search inside the book" feature of Amazon, and asked it for a random page. It gave me page 70.
There is a well-known theory of land economics, known as the Tiebout-Hamilton model of local public choice, which says in essence that with a multitude of different local governments, consumers will choose the one that specializes in the particular combination of taxes, services and zoning that matches their preferences. That way there is a free market in governments as well as houses and everyone one gets what they want.
Here is page 70 of Zoned Out, which sold me on the book
Where travel behavior research focuses solely on the external costs of transportation - such as the pollution and congestion imposed on others - it erroneously assumes that households are able to choose their optimal location, within budget constraints. But such optimization would be impossible if a community that would otherwise be desirable to a household were closed because local regulations excluded the kind of housing the household desired or could afford. Thus this research systematically neglects the internal costs of exclusion - the gap in benefits from a household's actual location and the location it might have chosen in the absence of exclusionary regulations.To get more details about the book, hover your mouse on the picture of the book's cover.