How America’s Cities Are Growing: The Big Picture

Anthony Downs
Anthony Downs Former Brookings Expert

September 1, 1998

Suburban sprawl has been the dominant form of metropolitan-area growth in the United States for the past 50 years. This article analyzes the nature of such sprawl, why it occurs in U.S. metropolitan areas, the problems it causes or aggravates, and some alternative possible forms of future metropolitan-area growth.