Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 05-17
41 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2005
This Essay reviews Richardson Dilworth, 'The Urban Origins of Suburban Autonomy' (Harvard University Press 2005). Dilworth's history of metropolitan New York City and northern New Jersey seeks to connect early public infrastructure investments and suburban political autonomy. This Essay uses Dilworth's case studies of early metropolitan fragmentation as a springboard for discussing the continued connection between public infrastructure investment, suburban growth, and intra-metropolitan equity. In particular, the Essay examines the tendency among opponents of metropolitan fragmentation to embrace limits on infrastructure subsidies. These policies have intuitive appeal: If infrastructure subsidies foster sprawl and enable metropolitan fragmentation, then limiting subsidies should limit sprawl (and perhaps fragmentation as well). Unfortunately, using infrastructure policies to curb suburban growth and rein in municipal autonomy may have negative distributional consequences including, importantly, a loss of affordable housing and a related reduction in opportunities for intra-metropolitan mobility.
Keywords: Metropolitan, regional government, growth management, suburban, fragmentation, infrastructure
JEL Classification: H1, H2, H23, H41, H7, H70, H71, H77, K11, K32, R52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation