The next time you hear someone decry “urban sprawl,” you might want to reacquaint yourself with key findings from the research of Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute.

Growth management takes away people’s property rights in the name of controlling urban sprawl.

Advocates of growth management say that it produces many benefits, including preservation of farm lands, energy savings, reduced air pollution, and lower infrastructure costs. In comparison with the dubious benefits of growth management, the costs are overwhelming. The most quantifiable cost is the effect on housing prices. Housing typically costs two to five times more in states with growth-management laws than in states without such laws. Overall, growth management slows regional growth, exacerbates income inequality, and particularly harms low-income families.

It is imperative that states repeal laws mandating or authorizing city, county, and regional governments to practice growth management. Local and regional governments that practice growth management should abolish their plans.