Magazine article USA TODAY

When Corporations Leave Town

Magazine article USA TODAY

When Corporations Leave Town

Article excerpt

New suburban communities have sprung up all over America. While growth creates benefits in the suburbs, it increases congestion and infrastructure costs for the entire metropolitan area. Generally known as sprawl, the situation is particularly acute in metropolitan areas where deconcentration is taking place--suburban growth coupled with a decline in the central city.

Wim Wiewel, dean of the College of Business Administration, and Joseph Persky, professor of economics, University of Illinois at Chicago, authors of When Corporations Leave Town, have developed a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of employment deconcentration, focusing on central cities and their suburbs. Using a model of a large manufacturing plant and a business services office in the Chicago metropolitan area, they have calculated tangible and intangible costs of sprawl, such as traffic congestion, air pollution, housing abandonment, loss of farmland, tax liabilities, and the strain put on public resources.

"Not surprisingly, there is no magic bullet or panacea to address the problem of metropolitan deconcentration," Wiewel and Persky emphasize. "Without making central places more attractive places to invest, attempts to slow down growth on the suburban fringe run the risk of making the metropolitan area as a whole less competitive. …

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