Tell us about your experiences with Marketplace. Enter To Win
Cars, taxis and trucks sit morning rush hour traffic in Midtown Manhattan. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Tight economy could curb urban sprawl

Stacey Vanek Smith Apr 25, 2008
Cars, taxis and trucks sit morning rush hour traffic in Midtown Manhattan. Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

TEXT OF STORY

Lisa Napoli: Just say no to long commutes and Urban Sprawl. That’s the theme of a book to be released today on Capitol Hill by The Environmental and Energy Study Institute and the Urban Land Institute. Here’s Stacey Vanek-Smith.


Stacey Vanek-Smith: In compact cities like Portland, Ore., people spend about 10 percent of their discretionary incomes on transportation. In sprawling metropolises like L.A. and Atlanta, it’s more like 35 percent and climbing thanks to rising gas prices. Policy Analyst Jan Mueller says that could make city living look a lot more affordable.

Jan Mueller: For a long time, cheap energy did allow people to make a choice to save money to live in a place that was less expensive further out. It’s becoming less competitive from a financial and a time standpoint to live further out.

Mueller says Congress needs to encourage cities to invest more in existing infrastructure and less in new roads and developments. He says, these changes will help reduce global warming and preserve home values in a down market. Mueller points out that houses closer in to cities have appreciated more than homes that require a long commute to urban centers.

In Los Angeles, I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.