"Cities in Western Europe and the U.S.: Do policy differnces matter?" by Wendell Cox and myself is now available in the most recent issue of the Annals of Regional Science.
We take off from the position of Nechyba and Walsh that, “While we seek in this paper to address only the issue of urban sprawl in the United States, we suspect that greater insight into the causes of sprawl within the United States could be obtained from a better understanding of why cities in other developed societies look very different.” Our
purpose was similar, but we were less sure of “very different.”
And, contrary to some views, that European and U.S. cities are converging in important dimensions, we found that the Europeans are drifting closer to the U.S. model. Small wonder; people everywhere like their cars.
Beyond all this, Wendell keeps running around the world's cities and reporting what he finds. Here are more than twenty of his reports. What goes? Most development is outside the historic core -- and there are declining shares of transit use. People like their cars everywhere. In fact, they like them so much that their preferences seemingly trump all the policies designed to get them to change their evil ways.
Think of what could be saved if some very expensive policies (dreams) were aborted? Start with high-speed rail.