The New Climate Economy recently released the report Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl. Their release announcement put a lot of zeroes behind the cost of sprawl:
Urban sprawl costs the American economy more than US$1 trillion annually, according to a new study by the New Climate Economy. These costs include greater spending on infrastructure, public service delivery and transportation. The study finds that Americans living in sprawled communities directly bear an astounding $625 billion in extra costs. In addition, all residents and businesses, regardless of where they are located, bear an extra $400 billion in external costs.
Not only are the suburbs spectacularly inefficient, they are subsidized by those of us who live in more sustainable, suitably dense urban neighbourhoods. The fact that we’re still building and subsidizing suburbs in the face of the overwhelming economic, social, public health, and environmental indictments against suburbia is astounding.