Volume 4

On Engineering Urban Densification

Steven J. Eagle

City planning in America began as a Progressive Era exercise intended to preserve property values and implicitly incorporate the social norms of officials and planners. Over time, rigid zoning was replaced by flexibility accompanied by opaque bargaining between localities and developers. Still, even in vibrant large cities, homeowner preferences for low density largely prevailed over attempts to enhance agglomeration through increasing density. The effect is to reduce economic opportunity for individuals and make cities less prosperous.

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4 BRIGHAM-KANNER PROPERTY RIGHTS CONF. J. 73 (2015)