I don't see a real solution without either refusing to push utilities further south
Bingo. Cities (generally) subsidize sprawl by providing infrastructure at no cost. Cities look at current growth and say, "Gosh, that suburb is exploding! They'll have 500,000 more people in 5 years! We better build a freeway out there for all those new houses!" But if the city doesn't build a freeway, what does the developer tell his prospective clients? "You'll love the rural feel as you try to commute with 500,000 of your closest friends on this charming 2-lane country road"? I don't see where it says cities _have_ to build roads because people want to build out there. If the developers want to build out there, let them foot the bill. Meanwhile, cities can take the money (ok, so it's mostly state and federal money) and support the infrastructure and urban form that already exists.