AgEcon Search

AgEcon Search >
       University of Laval >
          Center for Research on the Economics of the Environment, Agri-food, Transports and Energy (CREATE) >
             Working Papers >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://purl.umn.edu/121692

Title: Are Compact Cities Environmentally (and Socially) Desirable?
Authors: Gaigne, Carl
Riou, Stephane
Thisse, Jacques-Francois
Authors (Email): Gaigné, Carl (carl.gaigne@rennes.inra.fr)
Keywords: Greenhouse gas
commuting costs
transport costs
cities
JEL Codes: D61
F12
Q54
Q58
R12
Issue Date: 2012-03
Series/Report no.: CREATE Working Papers
2012-4
Abstract: There is a wide consensus among international institutions and national governments in favor of compact (i.e. densely populated) cities as a way to improve the ecological performance of the transport system. Indeed, when both the intercity and intra-urban distributions of activities are given, a higher population density makes cities more environmentally friendly as the average commuting length is reduced. However, when we account for the possible relocation of activities within and between cities in response to a higher population density, the latter may cease to hold. Because changes in population density affect land rents and wages, firms and workers re-optimize and choose new locations. We show that this may reshape the urban system in a way that generates both a higher level of pollution and welfare losses. As cities become more compact, agglomeration occurs and, eventually, the secondary business centers vanish. By increasing the average commuting length, these changes in the size and structure of cities may be detrimental to both the ecological and welfare objectives even if intercity trade flows decrease. This means that compact is not always desirable, and thus an increasing-density policy should be supplemented with instruments that impact the intra- and inter-urban distributions of activities. We argue that a policy promoting the creation of secondary business centers can raise welfare and decrease emissions.
URI: http://purl.umn.edu/121692
Institution/Association: University of Laval>Center for Research on the Economics of the Environment, Agri-food, Transports and Energy (CREATE)>Working Papers
Total Pages: 36
Collections:Working Papers

Files in This Item:

File Description SizeFormat
CREATE2012-4.pdf848KbPDFView/Open
Recommend this item

All items in AgEcon Search are protected by copyright.

 

 

Brought to you by the University of Minnesota Department of Applied Economics and the University of Minnesota Libraries with cooperation from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

All papers are in Acrobat (.pdf) format. Get Adobe Reader

Contact Us

Powered by: