Rothbard on sprawl and discrimination

by Sandy Ikeda

Over at Market Urbanism they’re discussing Murray Rothbard’s analysis in For a New Liberty (1973) of how local public-school financing created incentives (1) for urban populations to move to the suburbs and (2) for suburbs to discriminate against low-income (re black) families via zoning and building regulations.

So add public schools to the list of other, sprawl-encouraging factors in the US such as federal subsidies for roads and infrastructure and, of course, the decades-long policy of promoting single- over multi-family housing. Oh, and let’s not forget the indirect but lasting impact of the Great Depression on the demise of downtowns (something Jane Jacobs argues in her last book).

This story from last year documents the continuing appeal of suburban and “micropolitan” lifestyles to most Americans.