Michigan state policymakers face a conundrum. On the one hand, some citizens are concerned about the rapid pace of modern development: They worry that continued development will erode their quality of life, so they erect legal, political, and other barriers to prevent others from further developing land. And on the other hand, there is little objective evidence that Michigan is facing anything resembling a land use "crisis."

The current debate over "urban sprawl" has added to the problems of developing practical policy options by avoiding and even obscuring a meaningful discussion of the nature, causes, and consequences of suburban development.