What is Driving Urban Sprawl?
With increasing numbers of people moving away from the central city, urban sprawl has become an issue for debate in the Treasure Valley. A 2001 USA Today ranking of America’s most sprawling mid-sized cities placed Boise at No. 3. In 2004, in a Smart Growth “sprawl index” ranking of the Pacific Northwest, the Boise-Nampa Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranked No. 1. This project will investigate the incentives for individuals to move outside the central city as well as the externalities affecting the community as a result of the sum of those individual choices. We will examine factors such as cost of housing, cost of transportation, pollution, land use concerns, education, and quality of life by gathering data from the local government and civic organizations involved in urban growth planning.
We expect to find that people are moving out of the central city to maximize their utility without considering the economic and environmental consequences to the whole community. Uncovering the details of this issue will be helpful in showing the costs of sprawl and the benefits of smart growth.