Sprawl

December 2, 2011, 7am PST
Walmart talks big about climate action, but its land-use strategy is anything but climate-friendly: It builds massive new stores on virgin land in sprawling areas, then abandons them in favor of still newer, still bigger stores, says Stacy Mitchell.
Grist
October 11, 2011, 8am PDT
Galina Tachieva's new Sprawl Repair Manual creates a narrative and visual process for making suburbs more sustainable. The book's first chapter is available now online.
Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments
October 9, 2011, 1pm PDT
A new report from Strong Towns Initiative argues that sprawl-friendly policies and overbuilt infrastructure are keeping the economy from properly recovering.
New Urban Network
September 19, 2011, 11am PDT
In the 1930s, The Federal Housing Authority embraced the trend towards cul-de-sacs, decrying the standard street grid as monotonous and unsafe. Norman Garrick and Wesley Marshall have proven otherwise.
The Atlantic Cities
September 16, 2011, 9am PDT
A large chunk of the state's developed land is designated as low to very low single-family residential, which explains an exceptionally high percentage of workers who commute to work alone. PlanMaryland seeks to change this unsustainable trend.
The Atlantic
Blog post
September 15, 2011, 9am PDT

 

It is conventional wisdom in some circles that “comprehensive planning” and sprawl are polar opposites- that planning is the enemy of sprawl.

But in fact, a comprehensive plan is almost as likely as a zoning code to be pro-sprawl.  Many of the land use policies that make suburbs automobile-dependent (such as wide roads, long blocks, low density, single-use zoning, etc.) can just as easily be found in a comprehensive plan. 

Michael Lewyn
September 8, 2011, 8am PDT
Mark Hinshaw writes that back in 2006, developers were snatching up any bit of undeveloped land in Snohomish County, WA. Today, those far-flung projects have suffered much more than inner-city developments.
Crosscut
July 27, 2011, 10am PDT
With foreclosure rates high and car-dependent development spreading, Charlotte might want to start listening to new urbanist Tom Low, according to this article.
Charlotte Magazine
July 22, 2011, 10am PDT
Patrick Kennedy stresses the importance of quality over quantity in residential housing by comparing houses in McKinney, North Texas, with those on Swiss Avenue near Downtown Dallas.
D Magazine
July 21, 2011, 1pm PDT
Dan Leavitt, California High-Speed Rail Authority’s deputy director, says Calif. can either be at the whim of 'market-driven sprawl,' or high-speed rail can revolutionize the state. Yet, arguments for getting people to ride rail are contentious.
The New York Times
July 9, 2011, 11am PDT
A new study from the nonprofit research center Good Jobs First looks into how relocation tax breaks for businesses have encouraged sprawl in the Cleveland and Cincinnati metropolitan areas.
Crain's Cleveland Business
July 7, 2011, 9am PDT
A draft report from San Diego reveals that California's SB 375 law, which passed in 2008, was ineffective in reducing sprawl in the long term, Ethan Elkind writes for the UCLA UC Berkeley Legal Planet blog.
Legal Planet
July 5, 2011, 2pm PDT
Rust Belt poster child Youngstown, Ohio made waves almost a decade ago with its revolutionary plan for "controlled shrinkage." But progress has been slow in a political system still wired for growth.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill
June 20, 2011, 8am PDT
As mobile technology is fast becoming more mainstream, Urban Land Institute's CEO Patrick Phillips envisages more mixed-use developments in the next decade.
The Wall Street Journal
Blog post
June 9, 2011, 6am PDT

Note: This column was originally titled, "A Stupid Attack on Smart Growth," intended as a pun on 'smart' and 'stupid.' However, that sounds harsh so I retitled it. - T.L.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has a well-financed campaign to discourage communities from considering smart growth as a possible way to conserve energy and reduce pollution emissions. They contend that compact development has little effect on travel activity and so provides minimal benefits. The NAHB states that, “The existing body of research demonstrates no clear link between residential land use and GHG emissions.” But their research actually found the opposite: it indicates that smart growth policies can have significant impacts on travel activity and emissions.

Todd Litman
Blog post
May 18, 2011, 7am PDT

Last week, I was busy trying to turn my paper on sprawl in Canada (available at http://works.bepress.com/lewyn/65/) into a speech.   In my paper, I define sprawl in two ways: where we grow (measured by growth or decline of central cities, controlling for municipal annexations) and how we grow (measured by modal shares for cars and transit).  As I was proofing, I asked myself: why these particular measurements?  What presuppositions underlie defining sprawl based on, say, modal share as opposed to the growth of a urban area's land mass?

Michael Lewyn
May 6, 2011, 1pm PDT
Richey Piiparinen argues that Americans don't necessarily want sprawl, but they are driven by unconscious motives, fears and hopes that haven't been properly dealt with yet.
Rustwire.com
May 5, 2011, 2pm PDT
Density -- either high or low or somewhere in the middle -- is a key defining element of our cities. In this essay, Witold Rybczynski looks at the relative densities of U.S. cities and suggests that things may start to change subtly.
Wilson Quarterly
April 28, 2011, 2pm PDT
That's Billy Burge of the Grand Parkway Association, referring to a plan in Houston, Texas to expand the city out into greenfields on the outskirts of the city.
Streetsblog Capitol Hill
April 28, 2011, 6am PDT
The TDR, or transfer of development rights, could be a way for Canadian cities to reduce the expansion of its sprawling cities, according to this piece.
Globe and Mail