Urban Sprawl in USA By: Hessa Al Khalaf
Definition Urban Sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a multifaceted concept, which includes the spreading outwards of a city and its suburbs to its outskirts to low density, auto development on rural land, with associated design features that encourage car dependency.
Criticism The ill-effects of urban sprawl run the gamut from the more concrete effects such as health and environmental issues to more abstract consequences involving neighborhood vitality.
Disadvantages Impact on Health and Environment: Urban sprawl is associated with a number of negative environmental and public health outcomes, with the primary result being increased dependence on automobiles.
Increased pollution and reliance on fossil fuel: The most polluted air is on crowded highways, where people in suburbs tend to spend more time. Increased driving generates more per capita pollution and carbon emissions.
Increase in traffic and traffic-related fatalities: A heavy reliance on automobiles increases traffic throughout the city as well as automobile crashes, pedestrian injuries, and air pollution.
Fact: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of five and twenty-four and is the leading accident-related cause for all age groups.
Increased obesity: The American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Health Promotion, have both stated that there is a significant connection between sprawl, obesity, and hypertension due to less walking in sprawl-type developments. Living in a car centered culture forces inhabitants to drive everywhere, thus walking far less.
Decrease in social capital: Urban sprawl may be partly responsible for the decline in social capital in the United States. Compact neighborhoods can foster casual social interactions among neighbors, while sprawl creates barriers. It replaces public spaces with private spaces such as fenced-in backyards.
Crowding and increased aggression: Numerous studies link increased population density with increased aggression. It encourages crime and anti-social behavior. It is argued that human beings, being social animals, need significant amounts of social space or they become agitated and aggressive.
Solutions • Creating a Sense of Place A growing number of planners and architects are seeking to design communities that have a stronger "sense of place." Their ideas focus on promoting a more compact pattern of development by using: • mixed use (where residential areas are not isolated from places of employment and commerce) • a strong pedestrian orientation • active civic and community life • closer links between public transit and land use;
Clustered Development or Open Space ZoningClustered Development or Open Space Zoning unlike typical subdivisions which divide the land into large lots, allows development on only a portion of the land while conserving the remainder as open space.
Concentrating Growth and Development Older towns and cities can be revitalized by: • managing growth, • cleaning up environmentally contaminated land, • reinvesting in existing neighborhoods, and • changing governmental infrastructure financing policies
For eg: Brownfields Brownfield programs are seeking to reclaim thousands of parcels that stand vacant and unused in our cities and towns because of contamination from toxic and hazardous wastes which will lessen the need for developers to build on the suburban fringe.
Increasing Density, While Providing Green Space Increasing Density (or its converse: avoiding very low density residential development) is another approach to reducing sprawl. However, as density is increased it is critical to provide green space and recreational opportunities.
Advantages Technological advance has mitigated many of the environmental problems associated with sprawl. Today the diversity of major cities within the United States offers households a wide menu to choose from. People with a taste for “new urban” living can move to a New York City while those that want their own private space can move to Houston, Texas.
Sprawled cities offer both firms and households more choices. There is significant diversity of types of people and types of firms. • Firms that need large parcels of land to operate and people who have a strong preference for their own large private plots of land face significant tradeoffs if they must locate in compact cities
Bibliography • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_sprawl • http://greeneconomics.blogspot.com/2006/03/benefits-of-sprawl.html • http://www.stockphotopro.com/photo-thumbs-2/stockphotopro_7203127fwn_alamo_square,_s.jpg • http://www.plannersweb.com/sprawl/solutions_sub_brown.html
MLA Format • "Urban sprawl -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web. 04 Feb. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_sprawl>. • "The Benefits of Sprawl." Environmental and Urban Economics. Web. 04 Feb. 2010. <http://greeneconomics.blogspot.com/2006/03/benefits-of-sprawl.html>. • Web. 04 Feb. 2010. <http://www.stockphotopro.com/>. • "Sprawl Guide: Solutions (Brownfields)." Planning Commissioners Journal. Web. 04 Feb. 2010. <http://www.plannersweb.com/sprawl/solutions_sub_brown.html>.