Discussion Paper

Infill Development: Perspectives and Evidence from Economics and Planning

May 28, 2010 | Virginia D. McConnell, Keith Wiley


This paper explores the different perspectives on infill development and its role in urban growth. Despite the intense debate about the potential for and effects of infill development, there is very littleempirical evidence about whether policies to promote it have been effective, about the amount and type of infill development and its effect on surrounding communities. This paper first reviews arguments from both the planning and economics literature on the possible benefits and costs of infill development and the effectiveness of policies to promote it. Then, we summarize the different approaches to measuring infill and provide evidence about the amount of infill that has occurred relative to other development. We also investigate infill characteristics and how its density and size may be different from the development in existing neighborhoods where it is located. Finally, we review the empirical literature on the effects of infill on property values in receiving communities, drawing out implications for policy and suggesting directions for future research.