The points raised above should cast doubts on simplistic reading of urban and environmental data. The problems of environmental degradation and urban redevelopment are much more complex and require a more intelligent policy response than that of simply attempting to cram more people into an urban core. In fact, maintaining urban densities is likely to exacerbate environmental problems rather than solve them by accelerating the loss of open space in urbanized areas.

In the next section, some guiding principles and recommendations are offered to help policy makers formulate an informed and appropriate response to the "urban sprawl" debate.