Back to Ed though; Back during the industrial revolution who could blame people for wanting to get away from the black soot and overcrowding that made up cities. It's different now though and there are lots of rules that keep cities from being the slums they were before. But today, cities pay (or as some say export tax base) to the suburbs in the form of road subsidies versus before when streetcars and streetcar suburbs were funded by the people in those suburbs. This to me is the biggest force today that promotes and spreads real sprawl. There have been policies after WWII that accelerated it including the Federal Highway System and suburban lending practices but those now are more of the beginning of the inertia rather than what is happening now. Now pro-suburban policies include job subsidies and the expansion of roads instead of maintenance. Now let's level the playing field.
No region should receive special favors from the federal government; no city should get special treatment from Beacon Hill. But our cities deserve a level playing field. A level playing field requires that urbanites should not bear an undue burden of caring for the poor and that suburbanites should pay for the environmental costs of energy-intensive lifestyles.Back to the Bellows, some don't think that we should level the playing field to cities but Ryan gives this response:
His follow-up point that we shouldn’t do things to benefit cities because those things will unfairly benefit the rich is dreadfully off the mark. Glaeser is saying that society as a whole would be more urban if we got rid of some of the distortions preventing such a change (by charging, say, for pollution and congestion externalities). His broader point is that this will make society as a whole better off. And yes, policies to make life better in cities will have the effect of making life better for people in cities, and possibly harder for those in suburbs. So what? If the world needs to reduce carbon emissions, then it’s going to be the case that people who have to cut back most on their emissions get hurt the most. The alternative is to continue to allow those folks to not have to pay for the damage they inflict on the rest of us.