Sunday, November 26, 2006

Exurban Paradox

Today's Tennessean carried a story on Tennessee's relatively high populations living in "exurban" areas; that is, those areas were suburbs peter out into farmland about an hour's drive from the central city core. Growth in those fringe areas has exploded relative to urban and suburban growth because of the lure of cheap land and lower taxes, but people who move to those areas want their services just like everyone else, even as those services are more taxing on exurbs:
Planners said that while moving to the exurbs can be less expensive for home and land buyers, it can be more expensive for local governments. Providing schools, roads, fire, police and other services for the growing areas can be costly because the homes are spread out over larger areas than homes in urban neighborhoods.
There is no way that local governments can sustain the attractiveness of exurban areas without providing more services with population growth. But the more these governments have to raise revenues to supply demand, the more unattractive they become for those looking for cheaper real estate and lower taxes.

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