Some Realities About Sprawl and Urban Decline

Anthony Downs
Anthony Downs Former Brookings Expert

August 1, 1999

Suburban sprawl has become a hot topic across the United States, and is even affecting such federal
policies as the Vice President?s open spaces initiative. I have written one book on this subject—New
Visions for Metropolitan America
—and I am now working with several other analysts on a
comprehensive federally-funded study called The Costs of Sprawl—Revisited. This article presents my
overall perspective on this subject—a topic much more complex than most commentators recognize.