Land take opponents argue that the anthropic transformation driven by urban growth to the detriment of agriculture and the environment is excessive and often unnecessary. An extensive literature that analyses large cities, linked urban spatial expansion to the socio-economic characters in a territory, implicitly rejecting the hypothesis of an unnecessary land take. We extend this framework of analysis including in the sample small cities, where more space is often available, and negative environmental externalities are less internalized. We estimate a spatial threshold regression model finding significant size heterogeneity. Results indicate that marginal land consumption is inversely related to city size.