The Graduate Program in
Public Policy and Administration



Robert W. Wassmer
Professor, Graduate Program in
Public Policy & Administration


President's Award
Research and Creative Activity


Thursday, November 30, 2000
4 p.m.
Hinde Auditorium

Reception to follow
University Union -- Lobby Suite

Call 278-7381 or 278-6156 for more information

Read the press release.

Robert Wassmer's discussion at the award ceremony:

An Economist's Perspective on Urban Sprawl in California

"For more than forty years, urban planners, environmentalists, and other social engineers have used the pejorative catch phrase of 'urban sprawl' to categorize much of what Americans dislike about metropolitan life in the United States. Given this history, it is hard to find an individual or policymaker in the United States who, at least publicly, favors urban sprawl. At the same time, it is equally difficult to find someone who can concisely define what urban sprawl is and how to best measure the degree to which it has occurred in a region. Though it is not hard to find a individual concerned about the negative outcomes that are widely attributed to urban sprawl: loss of open space, traffic congestion, air pollution, a greater percentage of the poor living in the inner-city, central city blight, etc. To accurately assess the causal connection between urban sprawl and these negative outcomes, ways are needed to measure the degree that urban sprawl has occurred in a metropolitan area. Once these ways of measurement are chosen, factors cited as causes of urban sprawl can be tested for validity, and if appropriate, these tests form the basis for public policies designed to reduce sprawl and the negative urban outcomes attributed to it. In this paper, I take the opening step toward this broad research agenda. First, I survey the previous urban, economic, planning, and popular literature to derive a consensus on the best possible ways to measure the degree of urban sprawl in a metropolitan area given the available data. I provide values for these measures for all metropolitan regions in California and for comparison purposes, metropolitan regions in other Western states. A statistical analysis of causes of retail decentralization in Western metropolitan areas, and how California differs, is also offered. I conclude with a discussion on the need for further research, and a few suggestions on how to go about it."

Robert W. Wassmer

Additional information on this topic is available from one of Robert Wassmer's papers:
Urban Sprawl in a U.S. Metropolitan Area: Ways to Measure and Comparison of the Sacramento Area to Similar Metropolitan Areas in California and the US

Copyright: 2000. Contact us.
Last updated: November 17, 2000

| CSUS | College of SSIS | PPA Department |