Thursday, May 5, 2011


by G. Schiller and  S. Siedentop

Previous research regarding the effects of urban form on public costs induced by investment, operation and maintenance of network-related technical infrastructure (e.g. water, sewage disposal, streets) is characterised by a growth paradigm. Most of the available studies are intended to show that substantial costs savings can be achieved by increasing urban densities and locating new development near existing built-up areas. In most “Cost-of-Sprawl-Studies,” cost estimations are based on the assumption of constant population densities and consumption levels over time. But for many cities and regions all over the world facing population decline and economic stagnation this postulate seems inappropriate. The decrease of population densities is strongly linked with additional costs. In general, fewer residents have to pay more for oversized infrastructure facilities.
A serious problem of estimating infrastructure costs in shrinking communities is an ongoing decoupling of residential and population density and the phenomenon of “remanence costs”. This requires new tools to estimate future infrastructure costs– a precondition for a necessary adaptation and reformulation of beaten tracks. This paper tries to address those requirements and introduces a tool to calculate infrastructure costs on the regional level, considering the costs of both growth and shrinkage.

more about urban form:

Study Shows Urban Sprawl Continues To Gobble Up Land

A Libertarian View of Urban Sprawl

A comparison of urban shrinkage in Baltimore (Maryland, USA) and Osaka (Japan) : reversed patterns of urban decline ?

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