Date of Completion

Spring 5-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Thomas Miceli

Honors Major


Second Honors Major





Urban sprawl, broadly defined, describes the uncontrolled geographic expansion of cities and towns, oftentimes resulting in haphazard developments with relatively low-density land use and heavy dependence upon automobiles. This is, however, only one of many definitions, as urban sprawl, while an increasingly popular term in many disciplines, does not seem to have a standard definition. This poses numerous problems for those who wish to delve deeper into understanding it and its implications. Consequently, this project offers a discussion and analysis of the various conceptions of urban sprawl throughout an array of different academic disciplines with an emphasis on the environmental, public health, and most importantly, the economic. This project explores the role of the economist in regard to urban sprawl: how can they contribute to a meaningful definition and discussion of the issue at hand? By evaluating the positions of experts across disciplines, this paper will come to terms with urban sprawl in its various forms, ultimately offering a more comprehensive definition of urban sprawl to be used throughout the disciplines.

Included in

Economics Commons