Providence Nation's Least Sprawling Metro Area

Wendell Cox adjusts the Smart Growth American sprawl index for errors and concludes that Providence is the nation's least sprawling metro area and Colorado Springs sprawls less than Portland.
August 10, 2004, 7am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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When the Smart Growth America sprawl index is adjusted for genuinemetropolitan areas rather than sub-metropolitan areas (which in NewYork exclude neighborhoods from which westside Manhattan apartmentscan be seen), a much different picture emerges. New York falls belowProvidence, which has the highest sprawl index, or least sprawl ofany genuine metropolitan area. New York also drops below Omaha, withits Calcutta-like squatter settlements. Nirvana (Portland) fallsbelow Colorado Springs, whose model urbanization jumps out at anywho have ever been there.

"So, let’s look at the new non-sprawl leaders. What stands out is their low density. The 2000 Census indicated that the urbanized area density of Providence was 2,300 residents persquare mile, while Colorado Springs weighs in at 2,400. Calcutta-like Omaha crams 2,800 people in per square mile, though is closely challenged by Manila-on-the-Rio-Grande,Albuquerque...

Least sprawling Providence has less than one-half the density of New York. But that’s all right by the revisionist urban planning America way of thinking. Density is only one issue. So long as there is a corner grocery store close-by, a park suitable for Chablis, speed bumps and empty bike lanes on every street, low density can be forgiven."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Monday, August 9, 2004 in The Public Purpose
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