"Eighty percent of everything
ever built in America has been built in the last fifty years, and most
of it is depressing, brutal, ugly, unhealthy and spiritually
James Howard Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere.
From 1982 to 1997 the Syracuse metropolitan area
grew by only 2% in terms of population, but it sprawled to cover 43%
What is Sprawl
Home From Nowhere:
"America's zoning laws...have mutated into a
system that corrodes civic life, outlaws the human scale, defeats
tradition and authenticity, and confounds our yearning for an everyday
environment worthy of our affection." Author James Howard Kunstler draws examples from his home
town of Saratoga Springs, NY.
Why Johnny Can't Walk to School. An important part of
America the small school you could walk to in a neighborhood where you
know your neighbors is disappearing. Its being replaced by
mega-school sprawl giant educational facilities in remote,
middle-of-nowhere locations that no child can walk to.
Historical Roots of Sprawl. Before World War II, many
Americans lived in small towns and villages, and dreamed of owning their
own farm or homestead. After the war ended, more and more Americans
moved to the larger industrial cities, bringing with them these visions
of home ownership. In 1992, some 44 years later, tract housing, suburbia and automobile-centered transportation are no longer seen as a solution. Rather, they are seen as part of a complex problem which affects all aspects of our lives from environmental to economic and social conditions.
Living on the Edge: The Costs and Risks of Scatter Development.
For many living in far flung houses and subdivisions, emergency response
times for police, ambulance and fire fighters exceed national standards.
Sprawl and the Environment
Environmental Protection Administration: "Why should we be concerned
Defense Council: "Sprawling land development is gobbling up the
American countryside at an alarming rate around 365 acres per hour according
to government figures."
"As we sprawl more, we drive more. And as we drive more, we pollute more."
The Audubon Society:
"In prosperous but sprawl-fatigued America, limiting pavement is becoming a hot
Friends of the
have exhausted the model of moving farther and farther from our central cities."
Sprawl and Health
Could smart urban
design keep people fit? Science News article summarizing the
research on sprawl and health. Reid Ewing, at the University
of Maryland, says the dozen strong studies that have probed the
relationships among the urban environment, people's activity, and obesity
have all agreed: "Sprawling places have heavier people."
"Living in the suburbs can make you
sick": To improve our health, this study suggests we
should build cities where people feel comfortable walking and are not so
dependent on cars.
Study: Driving longer
means larger waistlines: A survey of Atlanta residents found
that for every extra 30 minutes commuters drove each day, they had a 3
percent greater chance of being obese.
Obesity and Sprawl:
The Connection Tightens: CitiStates chairman Neil Peirce says,
"An obesity epidemic has seized America. And the suspected villain is none
other than America's prized development icon suburbia."
Suburbs Ponder Weighty Matter:
"People living in communities developed before 1947 traveled on foot or by
bike more than three times every two days. People living in areas
developed after 1977 got out of the car barely once."
The Built Environment and
Public Health: Richard J. Jackson, Director of the CDC's Center
for Environmental Health, points out the many health implications of
sprawl -- everything from respiratory health, to water quality to obesity.