As countries industrialize, more and more individuals and families end up living in cities.
The city becomes the hub of economic activity and social life. In the developed world, a
majority of the population lives in urban areas.
In Canada and the United States, cities are growing outward, and as cities get bigger
and more people want to live in single family dwellings, problems arise in providing the
infrastructure and services to accommodate the growth.
Urban Sprawl is the effect of this outward growth. Environmentalists are concerned with
land use and sustainability issues, while civic governments face increasing financial
burdens in trying to provide a full range of services for additional housing developments.
Streets in Grid Pattern
City streets in North America were traditionally organized in a grid-like pattern. This
type of pattern is both car friendly and people friendly, and it is easy to find one’s way
around in neighbourhoods like these.
Winding streets are more aesthetically appealing, but the pattern can be confusing and
inconvenient for motorists and pedestrians. Crescents and Cul de Sacs
Neighbourhoods with streets arranged in a random series of crescents and cul de sacs
are even more confusing, and they are less accommodating for pedestrian and transit
In Canada and the US, suburban housing developments took off after the Second World
War. Subdivisions are still being added as developers continue to meet the demands of
young families who want to live in newer homes and neighbourhoods.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, houses were built on large lots with big back yards.
In the last couple decades there has been a trend toward building more compact
houses on smaller lots.
But for people with more disposable income, a small house and a small back yard won’t
do. So there is a market for larger homes with multi-car garages. These houses are
usually located in neighbourhoods with similar housing patterns.
For higher income earners who want even more space, there are bigger houses being
built in some suburban neighbourhoods and some that are built in exclusive housing
developments located a few miles away from the city.
Regardless of where people choose to live, cities must provide the infrastructure to
support these housin