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Chapter 4

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Sociology 2152A/B
William Marshall

Sociology 2152b Chapter 4 • The change in public preference from urban to suburban living owes much to federal legislation in the late 1940’s and 1950’s that provided low cost builder and buy loans as well as the massive highway building program in the 1930s o Highway made it easier for people to live away from where they work • 4 current patterns = 1) sprawl, 2) new cities, 3) gated communities, 4) common-interest developments • Urban and suburban sprawl o Most people now prefer to live in their own homes on their own plot of land in suburbia o The development of vacant land Important, but poor government planning of land will have negative impacts to the environment and increase costs for everyone • Sprawl = term referring to spread-out or low-density residential development beyond the edge of service and employment area o Space that separates where people live and where people work, shop, leisure, pursue education o Need to use cars to move between these zones o This type of land results from unplanned, rapid growth, and poor land management o This type of land is automobile dependent, inefficient, and wasteful of natural resources o As people move further and further away from the core of the city, so do the all the trappings associated with urban life: stores, offices, factories, hospitals. Congestion, and pollution. o Sprawl occurs everywhere, but most obvious from the area in the south and west in NorthAmerica (e.g. from Toronto to Miami)  Malls and houses look so similar that is hard to find regional differences o 3 striking examples of sprawl areas = Pennsylvania,Arizona, and Georgia. o Between 1982-1997, Pennsylvania developed 1,800 square foot of land, a 47% increase in an urbanized footprint when its population just grew 2.5%. o The city of Phoenix now covers 520 square miles = half the land area of the state of Rhode Island o Atlanta = will claim 1 million acres of undeveloped land = 3 million residents = area larger than Dallas and Houston but with lower population o Sprawl areas in the U.S became very popular, but the cost of the building transportation that support building residential areas further and further away from core cities is increasing to the point where it is not acceptable. o Sprawl creates a never ending upward of costs o Even when a city loses its population, its metropolitan area population usually increases through land development • Why do we have sprawl? o Sprawl = snowball effect = where it rolls and rolls downhill until it is not stoppable o For the past 2 generations, government policies on taxation, transportation, and housing = nurtured by society’s embrace of letting a policy run its own course without interfering = unlimited growth in the low-density development.As more of this development occurred, more people want it. o For many people = a house in the suburbs represents the ideal lifestyle o Sprawl area is designed with a car in mind o Sprawl area created the “shopping” center = with large department stores found in the city (indoor). Office and industrial parks followed. o Sprawl transformed a lot of the natural landscape in the U.S and Canada o One reason for sprawl = political fragmentation = splintered governance structure of numerous local municipalities in a metropolitan region = resulting in an inability to control regional growth with comprehensive land-use plan = every region reacting different to developer’s request and have different zoning policies and tax policies. • Consequences of Sprawl o Negative side effects o Increase dependence on automobiles for transportation = everything is to spread out to make public transportation work (financial) o The annual mileage of the averageAmerican driver grew 3x faster over the last 25 years than the U.S’s population o Longer commutes to work and other places = less time for family, increase gasoline consumption as well as wear/tear on cars, cause traffic congestion, and increase instances of road rage. o Alife that requires a car discriminate poor families, the elderly, the disabled, and the young. o Environmental effect = increase of CO2 = global warming o Disrupts wildlife habitats = surface water runoffs, endangered species, and disrupt ecosystem by poisoning the water, flooding by destroying wetlands o Since the 1970s, the greatest loss resulting from flooding occurred in Louisiana, Mississippi,Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. o On average, U.S floods kill 140 people each year and cause $6 billion in damages o Hurricane Katrina = Cost = 200 billion = costliest natural disaster in U.S history o Sometimes, the consequences of a sprawl = too little water (e.g Las Vegas) = not enough water for everyone o Over the next 25 years, over 22,000 acres of natural resources will be loss in developing 35 of the largest and most rapidly growing metropolitan areas  553 of the 1,200 endangered species live in those areas o Sprawl creates longer commutes and greater traffic congestion  CO2 increase a lot  Sprawl costs each traveller an extra 34 minutes to travel and 14 gallons of fuel wastage  In areas 1 million or more = 44 extra hours and 20 wasted gallons  Hour hours are getting longer, esp. in southern California (traffic delay has tripled in the last 20 years) o Americans on average commute further to work than Canadians do  U.S workers average 16 mile one way commute to work, while 22% travel between 16-30 miles, and 11% travel more than 30%  Canadians only travel 4-5 miles to commute to work  High gas prices, parking fees, and wireless computers that enable productive time while commuting might change this dependence on automobile  Fuel prices = single largest factor for reliance on public transportation o Harm to cities  Sprawl harm cities too  Sprawl forces businesses and such to move outward from the city which attracts more people to move from the city to sprawls = resulting in less taxpayers in the city for the services = government has to raise tax prices  Sprawl destroys downtown commerce by pulling shoppers from once- thriving locally owned stores to large regional malls  Thus, sprawl robs cities of their characters, factories/stores will be all abandoned in the cities and places will fall in disrepair  Example = North Eastern U.S = Greensboro, North Carolina, lost half of its population since 1950s  Contrast = Spokane, Washington = Spokane Horizons Project = 20 year plan that started in 2001 to save residents in the downtown core (mixed-use land) to prevent Sprawl from happening  Financial cost = the idea that development will lead to more tax payer money = no longer holds true = because cost needed to deliver services (water, schools, sewer lines) to sprawl areas outset the incoming taxes  New Jersey = evaluated cost of developing mixed-land near downtown core or developing sprawls = result = 7.8 billion savings in 15 years if mixed-land development were used o Smart Growth = comprehensive land-use planning to revitalize and build compact, environmentally sensitive communities, ones that are transit and pedestrian oriented and contain a mix of residential, commercial, and retail spaces.  Focus on regional already developed land as well as development on new land  Example: New Jersey Master Plan  Social impact analysis = project likely consequences of a project before its construction  Leads to new field = environmental sociology = examines the reciprocal interactions between physical environment, social organization, and behavior o For several decades now, U.S has added 5 million new housing units every year for an additional 10-12 million people  Over the new next 30 years, it might add another 90 million people o Sprawl, by definition, is a regional problem and solving that problem requires convincing people that comprehensive, rational planning, and strategies to combat it is in their own self-interest o Land Purchases  In the 1960s, the federal government began setting aside a % of its royalties from off-shore oil drilling to acquire or expand recreational land and open space  Today, through referendums, efforts to protect open space and slow suburban sprawl are growing  Voters approved more than 75% of the 1,550 referenda setting aside open space o Urban Growth Boundaries  Oregon and Washington require cities to designate official boundaries in order to separate urban areas from their surrounding greenbelt of open lands, including farms, watersheds, and parks  The intent is to funnel developing into existing infrastructure and to protect the surrounding natural environment  Portland had boundaries since 1975, population grew 50%, but land use increase only by 2% (healthiest and the most livable city in the U.S)  In Canada = Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and Waterloo all have boundaries  Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg DO NOT have boundaries = sprawl o Revitalizing Existing Cities and Towns  The rejuvenation of once-thriving cities and towns – where mass transit, existing infrastructure, and high density living can support growth – will attract new residents and limit urban flight.  Restoration and utilize good planning to restore a sense of community  Tennessee cleaned up their river  California converted polluted water banks to shops and affordable homes  Maryland offered at least 3,000 dollars to people who would buy homes near their work inside the city  Controversial approach = eminent domain = seize private property for public the provided that the owner receives compensation at fair market price (5 amendment of the U.S constitution)  Kelo (Connecticut) Vs. City of New London = uproar of property owners that refused to sell their property but was forced to move by the federal government = impact = almost all states in the U.S improved their laws to protect home owners from eminent domain o Transit OrientedApproaches  Some proposed solutions for relieving traffic congestion focus on:  1) building more highway lanes  2) using smart corridors with synchronized traffic lights to move cars through congested area  3) adding car pool (HOV) lanes  4) building more rail lines alongside the highway to connect cities and suburbs  The
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