Enter a controversial matter. For some, the right to build on the land they own must be an absolute, regardless of circumstance, and every municipality must be able to decide what to do on its territory; for others, land is a scarce resource, whose use is related to the common good, and development implies relevant costs for local finances, so there is a case for regional planning and growth restrictions.
The European Environmental Agency has published in 2006 a report on the state of urban sprawl in Europe, using Corine Land Cover data. Urban sprawl is studied for several decades in 24 capitals, from central Spain the capitals of the eastern states, and it is evident that the oversize urban growth dynamics seen in the USA are also at work, albeit in different ways, across the European continent.
Munich seems to be the model city in that sense, with a growth planning that has allowed a smaller percentual growth in terms of urban built up area than in terms of population, even when it is vibrant city.