The pros and cons of urban sprawl

The issue of urban sprawl is a contentious and polarizing one, as people seem to either love or hate it. The fact remains, however, that it remains a permanent fixture, with cities growing exponentially in terms of geographic area. While the phenomenon may very well be here to stay, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to be considered.

The pros and cons of urban sprawl

The pros and cons of urban sprawl

In the urban planning and studies world, experts have defined sprawl in many, mostly negative, ways. Generally, sprawling environments contain low-density, low-rise structures where uses--residential, commercial and otherwise--are separate from one another and most easily accessible with a private automobile.

For instance, many of the suburban areas surrounding San Francisco and other large cities, such as New York and Chicago, are characterized by large amounts of sprawl. Dense city centers are just the opposite.

Poor Walkability Most attributes of sprawl can be classified as a pro or a con, depending upon who you talk to. Urban critic Jane Jacobs wrote a seminal book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," inwhere she criticized sprawl for, among other things, its lack of walkable environments.

Because the places people need to go on a daily basis tend to be relatively far away from one another, they typically drive to get there. Walking is either unpleasant or impossible, due to land use designed to accommodate auto traffic.

In dense cities, such as San Francisco, residents and visitors can easily walk, bike or take public transit to most of their destinations. Ultimately, it comes down to preference--some people like to drive everywhere, others prefer pounding the pavement or hopping on a bus. Lack of Mixed-Use Development Mixed-use development is easy to spot.

Picture typical streetscapes in cities like San Francisco or Manhattan. Commercial establishments at ground level tend to anchor offices and residences that rise from a couple to tens of stories into the sky. Mixed-use spaces promote walking, bike and mass transit use due to the obvious proximity of one amenity to another.

Jacobs was one of the first, however, to argue that mixed-use can make a neighborhood safer. She contended that several uses on the same block throughout a city keeps users, such as residents, tourists, shopkeepers and others, present for long periods of time day and night and, in some cases, for 24 hours.

Jacobs referred to these people as "the eyes on the street. Lack of Character Sprawling areas tend to be devoid of historical and thoughtful architecture. In his book "The Geography of Nowhere," James Howard Kunstler rails on the cookie-cutter, single-family tract homes that are a trademark of sprawl.

Some consider this a pro of sprawl, as these homes tend to provide more internal and external--like large backyards--space than dwellings in compact cities. Others think it is a con because sprawling housing developments often eat up farmland and other types of green space.Urban sprawl is a term used to describe the movement of a populous away from the center of a city into more rural areas (or an abundance of urban growth along the outskirts of a city).

While the population grows, so does the expansion of towns and city limits and the number of people within them. T]Urban sprawl is the unplanned, uncontrolled spreading of urban development into areas adjoining the edge of a city. Cons of Urban Sprawl - The cons of urban sprawl range from wildlife displacement and poor air quality to obesity and car accidents.

Learn how the cons of urban sprawl stack up. The issue of urban sprawl is a contentious and polarizing one, as people seem to either love or hate it. The fact remains, however, that it remains a permanent fixture, with cities growing exponentially in terms of geographic area.

What are the pros and cons of suburban sprawl? Update Cancel. Answer Wiki. 2 Answers. David Devine, Could the urban and suburban sprawl of DFW ever expand to the point that it touches Oklahoma? What are the pros and cons of raising children in urban areas, suburban areas, and rural areas? Nov 23,  · T]Urban sprawl is the unplanned, uncontrolled spreading of urban development into areas adjoining the edge of a city.

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