Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Impact of Urban Sprawl on Disaster Relief Spending: An Exploratory Study

Lambert, Thomas and Catchen, James (2013): The Impact of Urban Sprawl on Disaster Relief Spending: An Exploratory Study.

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Students of public policy have written a lot over the years about the rise of suburbia and development beyond older city boundaries in the United States, whether such development has been called urban, suburban, or ex-urban sprawl. Many writers have focused on various issues concerning sprawl, especially on the unintended consequences that new development has had on (among other issues) municipal finances, neighborhood income and residential segregation, and transportation planning. Over the last decade or so, a new area in the literature on sprawl has focused on how the “built-environment” of residential areas can impact health and emergency services. This research note adds to these latest set of papers on sprawl by trying to empirically estimate the impacts of sprawl in metropolitan regions on United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spending on rehabilitating or rebuilding infrastructure in post-disaster relief efforts. In this exploratory analysis the results indicate that urban sprawl is an important factor in influencing FEMA relief spending in the US.

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