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The Costs and Benefits of Alternative Development Patterns: A Paradigm of Two Universities

asif, numra and Asghar, Zahid (2016): The Costs and Benefits of Alternative Development Patterns: A Paradigm of Two Universities.

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Cities are places where innovation, invention, technological and knowledge spillovers occur. However, they are also places where unemployment, crime, pollution, and exploitation of human resources occur. One major problem of cities of today is the low density leapfrog/scattered development pattern that leads to high service provision costs and reduces the welfare of society. This study aims at comparing the cost of smart versus scattered development patterns for Pakistan. Due to data limitations two universities are selected for analysis purpose. On the basis of observational analysis QAU is labeled as leapfrog/scattered whereas COMSATS is categorized as Compact Development. We hypothesize that low density scattered development leads to higher service provision and social costs and compact development can lead to cost savings. The empirical exercise consisted of a randomized survey indicate that COMSATS students have better access to different facilities due to compact development pattern. The ordinal probit model was employed on survey results. Connectivity was found to be significantly associated with walkability though association is not the same as causation. The comparative analysis for service provision cost showed striking cost differential, as QAU spends a lot more than COMSATS to provide basic facilities. The results prove the baseline hypothesis. It is suggested that. QAU should use elements of smart growth like infill development and should make better use of large land endowment rather than it has become a curse. Both universities should work to raise social interaction among students. The real benefits of smart growth lie with the cities, and each city should apply smart growth to achieve cost savings and higher social capital.

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