HSCI 403 READINGS NOTES
CHAPTER 1 – WHAT IS SPRAWL?
•Vermont Forum on Sprawl definition of sprawl = “dispersed, auto-dependent
development outside of compact urban and village centers, along highways,
and in rural countryside.”
•Sprawl takes on a variety of meanings: cheaply and quickly built
neighbourhoods at the edge of metropolitan areas, architecturally
monotonous residential subdivisions, ugly feeder roads lined with strip malls,
lifestyles that center around car trips.
•Sprawl refers to the way land is used, the way people travel from place to
place, and even the way a place “feels.” In sprawling metropolitan areas, the
city expands outward over large geographic areas, sometimes in a “leapfrog”
pattern. Different lands uses— residential, commercial, office, recreational,
and so on— tend to be separated from each other.
•Distances between things are large, which makes walking and biking
impractical, and the low density makes mass transit uneconomical. There is a
heavy reliance on the automobile
•Heavy reliance on the automobile for transportation results in more air
pollution, which contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular disease. More
driving also means less physical activity, contributing to a national epidemic of
overweight and associated diseases. More time on the roads means a greater
risk of collisions with other cars and with pedestrians, with associated injuries
and deaths. Even mental health and the network of social interactions and
trust known as “social capital” may be affected.
•“Urban form” refers to the amalgamation of individual elements of the towns
and cities in which we live, work, play, and travel: the schools, houses,
parking lots, shopping malls, gas stations, post offices, houses of worship,
streets, parks, and stadiums, with which we are all familiar.
oPartly determined by natural features
•A widely accepted approach to measuring sprawl was proposed by Ewing,
Pendall, and Chen. 8 These researchers aimed to incorporate both land use
and transportation in their definition and, accordingly, identified four
categories for measurement: the strength or vibrancy of activity centers and
downtown areas; accessibility of the street network; residential density; and
the mix of homes, jobs, and services at the neighborhood level.
othese might be defined as compactness (density), diversity (the
mixture of uses over an area), sense of place (strength or vibrancy
of activity centers in a region), and connectivity (street network
accessibility, meaning how easy it is to get from point to point on
the street system).
Land Use: Density and Land Use Mix