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28 Jan 2011

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Urban sprawl, smart growth, path dependence
What the sprawl debate is really about is what kind of environment and city we want to
build. One way is to look at policy from the past, compare what happened with what was
Urban sprawl
It is a form of urbanization distinguished by leapfrog patterns of development,
commercial strips, low density, separated land uses, automobile dominance, and a
minimum of public open space
Leapfrog pattern is development of housing over undeveloped land
Dispersed development, lower densities than existing urban areas
Development with large areas of single-use development (ex. Only residential spaces)
Automobile dependent development (congestion)
Sprawl has a lot of space, but not public spaces
Why did this new urban form develop?
Growing car ownership
Economic growth, increase in wealth
Urban problems congestion, pollution, housing costs, racism, poor schools
Poor public transit outside of big cities
Emergence of large scale housing industry
Fragmented government
Cheap land
When everybody does sprawl, it becomes a problem
Major arguments against sprawl
High cost (cost for services are more expensive, shift in who pays shift in balance of
private costs and public costs, public costs (schools, roads, hospitals etc), higher
social costs are not developers concern, local government get stuck with the bill)
Car dependence (suburban layout make it difficult to walk, destinations are too far,
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