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Western University
Geography 2011A/B
Wendy Dickinson

Geography: Ontario and the Great Lakes Lecture 1: Land Use in Ontario- Urban Sprawl Smart Growth film: we need balance, not space Sprawl: Inner cities and outer suburbs- A Fred Friendly Seminar film: American dream and developments of the suburbs. Sprawl: low denisity, discontinuous development, that forms in suburbs Sprawl is the spreading out of a city and its suburbs over more and more rural land at the periphery of an urban area. • Conversion of open space into built-up, developed land over time • Discontinuous • Low density • Homogenous, sense of place Characteristics of Sprawl: • High volumes of traffic: prisoner to your car, not sensible • Scattering of businesses, shops and homes: no feasible way to walk to each place • Inadequate public transportation: not convenient for busses to go • Pedestrian unfriendly streets: only sidewalks in certain areas • Zoning that divides neighbourhoods from offices, shops and restaurants; • Parking lots that push buildings back and farther away from each other: developed parking in the front, people want to know there is parking • Inside out malls: series of places where people park to go to other places, not pedestrian friendly • Urban key island effect: keeps them warmer, hot spots, also makes it possible for water to go instantaneously to sewers, lakes, rivers Facts • At the current rate, an additional 260,000 acres (1,070 km2) of rural land will be urbanized by 2031 (an area double the size of the City of Toronto) • 92% of that land is Ontario's best farmland Sprawl in Ontario: • Golden Horseshoe growing by over 115,000 people per year • In 15 years, it will be the third largest urban region in North America behind only New York and Los Angeles • We are very dense in some areas, not in others • The horseshoe: developed more north Low Density= High Cost • Does growth pay for growth? • Infrastructure costs: maintaining everything • Other externalities: – illnesses – time lost in cars – traffic accidents – noise – economic costs of climate change Household Costs of Sprawl • Savings: – Cheaper land is further from city centre, part of American dream • Costs: over time the fear is – Increased property taxes due to maintenance of infrastructure – Extra transportation costs since all trips require a car – Time spent driving Consuming Precious Land • Land is finite • Land used for urban development is often prime agricultural land • Open land also preserves habitat and absorbs rain • Picture: shows how they aren’t as efficient (suburbs) • Commercial Zoning picture: agricultural use to urban use Public Health: use of fossil fuels • Millions of vehicles = billions of litres of gas used • Emit millions of tonnes of pollution • 16,000 premature deaths/year in Canada • Air pollution costs Ontario over $1 billion/year Climate Change • Burning fossil fuels = GHG emissions • Current Impacts: – permafrost thaw – accelerated coastal erosion – increasing severity of storms and droughts • Future Impacts Energy • Sprawl requires abundant energy • Sprawl requires cheap energy • Suburbs will become much more expensive Water Quality and Quantity • Clearing forest and agricultural cover increases runoff • Storm sewers gather oil, grease and toxic chemicals from pavement and deposits them in rivers and lakes Wildlife • Expansion into woodlands and wetlands destroys habitat • Primary threat to woodla
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