Works in Progress

"Five Myths About Sprawl"

Michael E Lewyn, Florida Coastal School of Law


The article reviews a recent book about suburban sprawl (Robert Bruegmann’s “Sprawl: A Compact History”), and shows how the book exemplifies a wide variety of misconceptions about the causes and effects of suburban sprawl. For example, Bruegmann argues that the near-universal existence of some suburban development means that sprawl is inevitable in a free society. My article responds that there is a huge difference between fundamentally pedestrian-friendly cities with some suburban development and regions where an automobile is a necessity even for city-dwellers. The article goes on to show how, by promoting auto-oriented sprawl, government made the latter situation common.