While urban economics is concerned with the location patterns of households, firms, and other entities which locate in densely developed areas, it also encompasses such considerations as (1) how the patterns of location evolve and change, (2) how the patterns of location are affected by government expenditures, taxes, and regulations, and (3) how the patterns of location affect the economic performance of both firms and households (Mills, 1985). The composition of the population of any given community is a significant factor in the determination of the mix of the publicly provided goods in that community. Conversely, government may develop a specific mix of publicly provided goods with an intention of attracting and manipulating a population mix for an area. Road improvements, as an example, may make it possible for more people to locate in a specific area, because access between that area and major job location centers is facilitated by the improved roads.
The westward expansion of the United States was "initiated by traders, explorers, pioneer settlers, and, not least of all, by the military Ó" (Hill, 1957, p. vii). In the first-half of the nineteenth century, however, the westward expansion of the country was given added impetus by governmental actions¨ both federal and state¨designed to speed the development of the nation's transportation system (Goodrich, 1960).