Urban Land Use
Not only do cities have a central business district, but they also have subcenters and suburban areas as well as many other different types of land use taking place. Each city is unique in the type of subcenters it has although some parallel each other pretty closely. Most people tend to live in the suburban areas and if they have a job closer to the central city then they will commute to their jobs. Wages are generally higher within the city because the commute from the suburbs is longer so people feel they should be compensated for that. If they were to work closer to their residence they would be willing to give up more income because it would be less of a commute and there are many costs associating with commuting. To learn more about commuting costs go to our section on Automobile Externalities.
The distance to the city's edge is set by the population and the rent here and the agricultural rent will never change. At this point the quantity of land supplied will equal the quantity of land demanded. To illustrate this concept consider this graph:
This is the case when people choose to keep moving farther from the city as the population increases instead of building up within the city. This makes the city larger in area and it will keep growing and growing as long as there is more land to occupy. If there is a lower density within a major city this means that there is a high level of sprawl. The density of cities is vastly different among nations. In the United States cities are not nearly as dense as many of the major European cities. To learn more about the differences visit our section on Comparing United States and European Cities.
Causes of Sprawl: