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Abstract

In this paper, we use a simple urban economic model to study how choosing park locations within a city might contribute towards urban planning goals. For multiple possible park placements, we solve for the associated equilibrium urban structure, including the equilibrium rent gradient, city boundary, total number of park visits, the overall utility level, and total vehicle miles traveled. We then examine how these change with alternative park placement sites. We find that, as a prescription for reducing urban sprawl, park provision has mixed results. When placed close to the central business district, the park can result in an increase in inner city housing density; such placement could help ameliorate problems of commuter traffic congestion related to urban sprawl. Parks placed further out toward the periphery, although consistent with improved accessibility and utility maximization, have the opposite effect - pulling residents away from the central business district and thereby likely worsening the congestion problem related to commuter traffic.

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