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> I've asked this before on similar articles, but I just can't wrap my head around why suburbs are intrinsically cheaper than cities.

You can't understand it because you have it backward.

If land is cheap you have urban areas.

If land is expensive you have dense cities (since a small apartment is all you can afford).

Once you realize that cause and effect are the reverse of what you think, it will make more sense.

When land prices go up, lots get rapidly subdivided with more houses, and then apartments (as prices go up higher).

When land prices go down, buildings get torn down, and the (now vacant) adjacent yards get added to existing homes.

You basically described SimCity, but it's not so simple in real world: 1) you can't build high-rise buildings anywhere and must follow zone planing (especially relevant in old Europe cities, where old town located in the core of the city and is strictly preserved). 2) People, especially older, get attached to their homes and don't sell it as soon as land price increases; some homes stay in the same family for generations. 3) Increase of land price doesn't necessarily leads to high-rise apartment buildings, but sometimes to luxury homes with big gardens if it's a beautiful area located in close proximity to the city.

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