Talk:Urban sprawl

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I am making no edits to the article, but this article is very biased--it has so much POV that it is basically an opinion piece. It is full of loaded language and not everyone thinks that "urban sprawl" is a great evil. The truth is most want to live in low density neighbors, otherwise there would be a large market demand showing otherwise. This article needs major work to become less POV. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.35.107.58 (talk) 03:40, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

POV violations and unverified claims[edit]

This article represents the bottom of the pile as wikipedia articles go. It's conspicuously anti-sprawl, and the arguments for and against are completely OR, with no citations whatsoever. It all sounds like an op-ed or someone's personal website. If there are no objections, I'm going to begin the process of stripping this thing down to where it's actually supported by sources.--Loodog 22:33, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Loodog: I think that I've got the first part of the entry under control. It is no longer normative (pro/con) but descriptive. I'm going to move the weasel words warning to the second half of the article, where it still seems a problem. --Nicolo Machiavelli 09:35, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I am going to delete this:"Notwithstanding these disadvantages, some government officials[who?] and private business employers contend that sprawl has certain advantages, such as more single family residences on larger lots, lower land prices, and higher profits for businesses due to the lack of laws limiting urban sprawl.[citation needed]" because there are no citations. --The Coffee Powered Liberal 4:40, June 01 2011 (UTC)

This article has once again been taken over by anti-sprawl activists; it is anything but objective and impartial as required by Wikipedia. In my view, it needs to be introduced as a political concept and all charges against sprawl backed up by sources. As it stands now, the article itself is sprawling, and needs to be tightened to a few main points (arguments for/against, manifestations of sprawl, examples from around the world and, possibly, links to measures that stimulate and impede sprawl. (Preceding comment by Nicolo Machiavelli)

I have made some effort to consolidate the clear duplication of sections and to give a clearer structure to the rest. Still indeed much work needed to give clearer sources and avoid duplication. I think we need to give the definition of the term a clearer grounding in the relevant literature. Will work on it as possible. Peregrine981 (talk) 11:22, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Inaccurate[edit]

"Currently, the largest shopping mall in the world is the West Edmonton Mall" actually now the biggest mall in the world is one in china, and over the next 5 years the 4 biggest malls in the world will be there as well...I don't have the info right now as to edit it the way it should. But maybe someone would like to investigate.... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 189.128.75.124 (talk) 03:13, 5 December 2006 (UTC).

You're right. I changed it. When I get time, I'll link to the source. Thanks! --Nicolo Machiavelli 22:15, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Johannesburg is listed as a city in an undeveloped country. South Africa is recognised as a developed country (1st world) according to the UN.

"Today, the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area is denser than any other in the country.[29]" This CANNOT be correct! Ángel.García 131.188.3.21 (talk) 14:50, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Plans for the future?[edit]

Here is a website about tall buildings proposed for future cities to stop urban sprawl: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Illinois. Would you like to add this to the website? Sundiiiiii 04:10, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Only this one is more up-to-date & modern & more beautiful, & it's under "See Also" in the above website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Seed_4000. Could you please add it? Sundiiiiii 15:31, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

How we became car-dependent for everything[edit]

Do you think we should add a paragraph about the "Great American Streetcar Scandal"? I already added a link to that wiki article. Sundiiiiii 15:45, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Streetcars and trolleys were not replaced by cars, they were replaced by city buses. Cars replaced horse-drawn carts, and I for one am glad there's not horse crap everywhere.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.83.176.121 (talkcontribs)
That's not correct, either. Horse-drawn carts and wagons were replaced by trucks. Only the rich could afford to keep a horse and carriage in urban areas. People who could afford to might take a horse-drawn cab, but everyone else walked or, when they became available, took a trolley, streetcar or urban railway. By the time motor buses replaced streetcars, many people who had formerly used streetcars were driving their own automobiles. -- Donald Albury 13:33, 21 July 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. "Bus replaced streetcars" is true only as a matter of vehicle type : they're public transport vehicles. No more. But actually the question about the "Great American Streetcar Scandal" (which happened in France, too...) is : would there be such a massive use of car in the second half of the XXth century, and still now, if competitive public transport system — such as streetcars — had been preserved and enhanced (restricted lanes, etc.) after the 50's in America and Europe ? Difficult question :D
To "unsigned" -> I'm sorry you're not worried by all the car crap there's everywhere (also this one)... Aleske 12:19, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Could everyone help find a website that says we could (& should) quickly eliminate all vehicles to save the earth by building only Tower cities connected to maglev trains? There's got to be one somewhere. Thank you. (T&T are what we should have built in the first place, which would have destroyed capitalist slavery for wages, & saved millions of lives. & T&T are the only way to save the earth.) Sundiii 03:20, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

That'd be highly opinionated of an article and I'd wager would be devoid of any appropriate "research". This is not a place for spreading one's own opinions. However, if you are interested in a massive Maglev system: LaRouche is right up your alley. The technology itself is too new and undeveloped to have been a feasible transit system for planners of yore; and it is most appropriate at longer distances over flatter terrain (not much point at a 300+mph top speed on an city line which stops every couple blocks). However, it is also obscenely expensive. Granted, costs will decrease with time, but it's just not currently feasible to implement such a system at a significant system scale. Right-of-way costs are also an issue, as accommodating high-speeds around curves requires a massive amount of space (and/or a corresponding reduction in speed). As for high-density development, you may be interested in the more community-oriented works of Paolo Soleri or the rationalist concepts of Le Corbusier. Cheers! --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 04:08, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
"which would have destroyed capitalist slavery for wages, & saved millions of lives". Bossi, don't waste your time explaining it. Just concede that there's a infinite amount of financial resources in any economy that sufficient people will agree on to spend on George Lucas's wet dream that everyone will want to live in, that simply won't be apart of the evil capitalist economy since only fairly paid construction companies will build it and only good companies will finance such high risk ventures while such living situations are surely the way to equilize wages and homogenize the social classes. Capitalist wars will be eliminated because everyone will be happy and the vast quantity of energy, water, and resources required for such endeavours will only come out of good sources, thereby making the project even more affordable.--Loodog 00:25, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure what you just said. --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 00:28, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I was going for "wildly vitriolic sarcasm".--Loodog 02:14, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Ahhhhh... 10-4. --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 04:20, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Overselling White Flight?[edit]

They claim that segregated and stratified development was institutionalized in the early 1950s and 60s with the financial industries' illegal process of redlining neighborhoods...

Unless this line is meant to demonstrate that "anti-racists" tend to blur the facts when arguing a point, this should be clarified to "...the financial industries' currently illegal process..." as it was legal (and in fact instigated by US Federal Government policies) back in the 50s and 60s.

Contrary to the discussion in the archives on the subject, White Flight is not a false or tenuous concept. While individuals' racial discrimination (bigotry if you prefer) is often speciously ascribed a more conscious, conspiratorial nature than is appropriate, the legislation behind the phenomena of White Flight is a matter of public record. "New Deal" policies enacted by FDR's administration attempted to prevent forclosures during the depression era by lowering the standards of mortgage lending. The financing for this govenment-backed program was assured by a property appraisal system, and what "proved" to be the most reliable determining factor for borrower credibility was the distribution of racial demographics in a neighborhood. When this was applied through another New Deal program- the National Housing Authority- (and after WWII the GI Bill, both aimed primarily at stimulating the construction economy) you practically have the Federal Government handing money to white people who want to abandon their current housing (or demand for) and build new houses on undeveloped land- i.e. white flight -> suburban expansion (sprawl). This was perfectly legal until Civil Rights legislation in the mid-sixties, and then a grey area until 1977.

It seems to me this is more about the background of the subject matter than an "argument for", but I have as of yet not made a direct contribution to the Wiki so I probably shouldn't start with something this controversial... --Jkwala 06:50, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

someone make this make sense..[edit]

"Presently, the NRI classifies approximately 100,000 more square kilometers (40,000 sq miles) (an area approximately the size of Kentucky) as developed than the Census Bureau classifies as urban. "

As of the last edit, this read:

"Presently, the NRI classifies approximately 100,000 more square kilometers (40,000 sq miles) (an area approximately the size of Kentucky) as developed as the Census Bureau classifies as urban. "

I was going to revert it when I realized I have no idea what the sentence is trying to say in either case. Anyone?--Loodog 01:18, 4 January 2007 (UTC)


Loodog: I think this just a way of counting up the amount of urban land in the USA. I have been trying to fix this article and just got to this section. Actually, I think we could just delete the whole thing (section on examples in the US). The problem with trying to measure sprawl is that data is collected within administrative boundaries that are different sizes. According to the US Census bureau, LA is more dense than NYC (which we all know is untrue) because LA does not include suburbs and NY is wider. At the metro level LA could be more dense, but at the city level not. Maybe just explaining this problem in a coherent manner would be a better contribution than these rather confusing statistics.--Nicolo Machiavelli 11:45, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Census data has never claimed that LA is denser than NYC. Those are cities. However, the LA urban area is denser than the NYC urban area. Each of those urban areas encompass about 8 times more land than the core city. 68.180.38.31 (talk) 00:14, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

No, that's not my problem with the statement. I cannot read these sentences:
The NRI classifies x km2as developed than the Census Bureau classifies as urban.
or:
The NRI classifies x km2as developed as the Census Bureau classifies as urban.
Are we trying to compare NRI's classification with the census bureau's?

--Loodog 17:43, 4 January 2007 (UTC)


As far as I can tell, the edit (than => as) does not seem to make sense. Since the NRI classifies MORE land as developed, this is an unequal comparison. You would use AS if the amounts classified were equal. Now... do I make sense? --Nicolo Machiavelli 21:42, 5 January 2007 (UTC)


this article needs work.. there are words missing or something

please fix it! :)

Article clean up and citations[edit]

I spent some time today cleaning up the article. I added a number of citations so I removed the original research warning box from the page. I also cleaned up the POV in the support / opposition section and removed some uncited text. Please let me know if you have comments or suggestions on areas that can be further cleaned up. Midwestmax 23:21, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Article clean up and citations[edit]

I spent some time today cleaning up the article. I added a number of citations so I removed the original research warning box from the page. I also cleaned up the POV in the support / opposition section and removed some uncited text. Please let me know if you have comments or suggestions on areas that can be further cleaned up. Midwestmax 23:21, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

It's still really biased. A large number of people challenge whether "urban sprawl" is even something worth talking about! This article seems to assume it's a problem from the get-go. Just search for "urban sprawl myth" on Google to see a ton of reputable evidence about why urban sprawl is mainly a political invention. I'm not talking about wack-jobs either, a whole lot of reputable researchers challenge whether it's even a valid phenomenon.

http://discovermagazine.com/2006/sep/urbanmyth/

http://www.slate.com/id/2129636/

The main points seem to be:

  1. Urban Sprawl is nothing new, it's happened since there were cities.
  2. Even with "out of control sprawl" the USA is only 4% urbanized.
  3. Urban Sprawl is not accelerating.
  4. Measures to "defeat urban sprawl" must necessarily include telling people where they can and can't choose to live.

I'm not going to make any edits to the article, yet at least. I think you can tell /my/ POV from this. I think the article shouldn't ignore the hard evidence presented that sprawl is a "myth", at least in terms of it being new, a pressing problem, or accelerating.

In addition, the "proponents" aren't "pro"-anything. Rather most of them do not see it as a problem. It's really misleading to present this as an issue you can be pro-or-con on.

Gigs 06:23, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Gigs you have valid points. It's sort of like abortion: the viewpoints aren't 1) against abortion and 2) for abortion; They're 1)against abortion and 2) for the choice abortion. The viewpoints are 1) anti-sprawl and 2) free market capitalism dictated by consumer choice. I'm going to reword the article accordingly.
As for anti-sprawl efforts dictating where people live, I beg to differ. Unless you're willing to buy your own plot and land and build your own house there, you're choices are only what's built and where it's built. If developers were required by law (in an extreme example) to only build tracts above a certain density, the people electing to move into those houses' would be restricted to living in a higher density neighborhood. It doesn't mean they can't also choose to live in preexisting low density suburbs. The only way anti-sprawl efforts would restrict choice is if they had an impact on the low density development that already exists today.--Loodog 19:56, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

There is "forced" higher density & lands that are off limits from people using their property rights to build. Those conditions are only in a handful of states. Almost wherever there are housing prices much above the national median, there are more restrictions, usually disguised under the misnomer of smart growth. 68.180.38.31 (talk) 00:20, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

I've reworded "pro-sprawl" to "Free Market". Let me know what you think.--Loodog 20:06, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
In order to associate defence of sprawl with free-market capitalism, as renaming the subsection does, it is not enough to show (or in this shoddily-sourced case) claim that the former position is consistent with the latter; while advocates of free market capitalism may consider urban sprawl ethically justified as a consequence of freely chosen human actions/an unhindered market, they might also consider it a sub-optimal allocation of resources, that the costs of urban sprawl exceed the benefits etc.
The reality is that most notable free market advocates are unlikely to have strong opinions either way, thus attributing a pro-sprawl or sprawl-neutral position to Free Market ideology is entirely untenable. Statements like "some free-market advocates defend urban sprawl from the point of view of x...", so long as they are verifiable are fine. Attributing positions to people (Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, David D. Friedman etc.) who have no stated opinion on the matter is absolutely out of the question, and this, I would argue, is entailed by attributing the positions in the article to "Free Market".
Two fundamental points to drive the nail into the coffin here are the following; nothing necessarily relating free market views to defence of sprawl is supported by reliable citations in the article and secondly contentious references to a particular ideology are wholly unnecessary when general, accurate and uncontroversial terms can be used. I am taking action to this effect. Skomorokh incite 01:20, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
The problem here is that there is no easy way to label opposing viewpoints. I would argue that the anti-sprawlers decrying this kind of development would like restrictions on its creation. As for free market views, I didn't mean as a whole, but merely on housing, which is the only way to describe a viewpoint not opposing sprawl.--Loodog 01:31, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
"he problem here is that there is no easy way to label opposing viewpoints"…which is a rather good indication that they shouldn't be labelled. "I would argue that the anti-sprawlers decrying this kind of development would like restrictions on its creation"…perhaps this is the case, but only the verifiable opinions of notable people are relevant here, and even this can only be descriptive of specific people or organisations, not ideologies en-masse. "As for free market views, I didn't mean as a whole, but merely on housing, which is the only way to describe a viewpoint not opposing sprawl."…is it? Says who? Again, it is possibly the case that all non-opposition to urban sprawl is from free market perspectives, but even if this were the case, it would still not be from the free-market perspective. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, editors labelling positions is POV. I have altered the headings using generic terms, let me know what you think. Skomorokh incite 01:41, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, that's a lot better than what was up there.--Loodog 01:48, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Use reasons based on fact to attack sprawl, not media or political perceptions[edit]

In the Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2007 Issue, Witold Rybczynski writes on sprawl, or rather on “Scatteration”. Rybczynski's article Suburban Despair is listed in the Wikipedia article sprawl.

There are four things that WR addresses: sprawl causes urban poverty; sprawl uses up land; sprawl is much less dense in population than metro-cities; and sprawl is identified with traffic / development / instability / overcrowding / car pollution.

The first is answered by Anthony Downs, a sprawl critic and a Brookings Institute researcher – he surprisingly saw no correlation between urban decline and sprawl (sic, suburbanization). Unfortunately this data and the references weren’t available with the article.

The second is answered by the fact that we could house everyone in the US in a land mass the size of Oregon at one family per acre. In fact, far from scatteration using up land on a regional or national basis, the total wilderness area has steadily increased in America and subproductive farmland has been abandoned.

The third is answered by puncturing another of our urban myths. Los Angeles, sprawl city, has a higher density for its metropolitan area than New York, and it has the fewest miles of freeway per capita of any US city (that explains the time it takes to get to LAX from Burbank). The lowest density cities are the old cities, not the new cities of the West and South. The average gross population of our cities is ~2800 per square mile – while suburbia comes in at ~2100. That is hardly a significant difference.

As to point four, sprawl degrading quality of life in the suburbs and in the environment – its possible that sprawl is the symptom of real driving forces rather than a root cause itself. Rybczynski lists three conditions that make Scatteration an understood effect rather than a cause. First, the population in America goes up by 2 million yearly, largely due to immigration. This drives a housing market and creates a need for more housing. Secondly, prosperity increases steadily and lifestyle expectations follow – the cities have not solved the problem of providing newer, better equipped, and larger homes. Finally, American economics drives job mobility and shifts the location of jobs. Mobility means that the workforce is shifting constantly, often to where there is a housing shortage. These three causes make Sprawl seem a logical outcome, not a national shame.

At the end of the article WR spends quite some space on the idea that sprawl can be smart development (the new urbanized village, updated for the 21rst century). At the end of the day, the USA is a nation of suburbs, so the real task is to make those suburbs as livable as possible, and connect them together at minimum cost environmentally and economically.

So do I believe that Scatteration is a good or bad thing based on this article? The jury is out, but it’s clear that we Americans have been making some of our political decisions based on ill-founded opinions and prejudices. Sloppy thinking shouldn’t be acceptable to us, nor should we be looking for single big villains, like Sprawl if we really want to improve the quality of American life.


ohjammer, Angel Fire New Mexico, Ohjammer 22:27, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Misleading:
  1. "no correlation between urban decline and sprawl". If you completely ignore the 1950s and 1960s in the United States. When Detroit lost 18% of its population, Boston lost 20%, Camden lost 18%, Cleveland lost 18%, St. Louis 27%, was when these cities' suburbs were born. The people have to go somewhere when they move out. I'm not saying there's causation or which way that causation goes, but there's a hell of a correlation.
  2. "total wilderness area has steadily increased". Where is it coming from? The country isn't pregnant. Declaring more area to be wilderness by definition doesn't mean any more of the country's free space is being opened up.
  3. Misleading because it's comparing metro areas. LAs sprawl is on average older than New York's so it is higher density. The cities themselves have every stereotype of density. The suburbs are low density; how the suburbs are doesn't affect how "sprawl"-y the city proper is. New cities: Houston: 1344/km2, San Jose: 2014/mi2, Phoenix: 1188/mi2, San Antonio: 1084/mi2. Old cities: Boston: 4457/mi2, Chicago: 4867/mi2, Philadelphia: 4202/mi2. As for LA having fewest miles of freeway per capita of a US city, I suspect that's another redefining of LA to be the LA metro area seeing as how, on the LA article itself it says "Los Angeles has one of the largest freeway systems in the world".--Loodog 23:29, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
  4. Economics drive the building of houses, but the reaction to sprawl on this page is that these houses don't be built on large lots that are only driving distance from shopping and employement.--Loodog 23:29, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Higher density = higher prices?[edit]

Someone added that higher density correlates to higher prices, indicating a shortage of higher-density housing relative to its demand. Not true. Central Falls, Rhode Island has one of the highest densities in the country, yet land value is low, because it's poverty-striken. Often poverty correlates with density. At the other end, we have clean and affluent established city neighborhoods like Manhattan, which have high density. So it's not simply supply and demand on low density neighborhoods against supply and demand on high density ones, so much as which ones they are.--Loodog 19:43, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Fast food chains[edit]

"Fast food chains are common in suburban areas." Well, yes, just as they are common in urban areas. I'm not sure what the point of this section is. Is there research saying that fast food chains are more common in suburban areas, on a per capita basis? My completely anecdotal personal experience, as someone who lives in suburbia but works downtown, says this is false. My B.S. detector says the same thing. The references made only assert that fast food chains accelerate sprawl, but I don't see anything that states how this is measured. 131.107.0.75 17:51, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, the whole thing is from a conservative point of view, and the same nabobs who despise the one despise the other, and no elitist can resist the suspicion that the various nefarious purveyors of progressive mediocrity are in league with each other. And who knows, maybe they're right but they have no evidence. Incidentally, in contrast to many on either side, I think sprawlurbia is a nice place to visit and even eat, but I'm glad I don't have to live there. Jim.henderson 18:06, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
If you want anecdotal experience, compare the fraction of independent restaurants in the city against the fraction in suburbia. Strip malls tend to be chains rather than locally owned places. If you want the context of the article, I can't really do it justice if you haven't read Fast Food Nation. Schlosser argues that an endemic part of the homogenizing of the American countryside into near identical tracts of strip malls and subdivisions is the role of fast food chains. They appear in sprawl and accelerated it. If you read into a bit, you realize he's also using fast food as a metaphor for suburbia: cheap, fast, big, ostensibly appealing to all the senses, but missing the substance of history and connection betweeen ingredients.--Loodog 18:54, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Oops, I was busy when the above was written and now it almost escaped my watchlist. Yes, metaphor can be great fun, but it's seldom an encyclopedic kind of fun. Yes, strip malls often have burger chains and that's where I generally stop to eat when bicycling through exotic and delightful lands of sprawl, but that's also where I eat out when in the central city. Well, burger chains yes, that's where I ate this past Saturday when I got stuck at work and couldn't walk home for lunch. Stripmalls alas are scarce in Manhattan.
Yes, progressives are often in a hurry, that being almost a definition of "progressive" and thus may be expected to eat out more often. As for whether sprawlurbanites eat home more often or less, I have no idea. As for whether they eagerly seek housing in places where Burger King competes with Pizza Hut, I seriously doubt this is a top priority. No, a causal relation of stripmall food being a major reason why many people prefer to live far from me looks pretty foolish without a more conclusive reference. Jim.henderson 19:13, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
It's a tad more complicated than that. Read the book.--Loodog 03:27, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

This is a crazy debate.

Jordan Landing[edit]

Why should the photograph be removed? Honestly its probably one of the most appropriate images in the article. You have an area experiencing rapid population growth in a state the Census ranked an overall position of number 5 for the entire decade of the 90s and is this year ranked number 6. Jordan Landing has been called a catalyst for igniting growth all around it. Jordan Landing is characterized by a "gone to hell suburban cultural wasteland replete with national chain stores", it was built in a formerly rural area, it is massive and expansive, and it is regularly blamed for overwhelming infrastructure (even the electrical grid). I can point out many other photos on this page that quite frankly add nothing, I mean who hasn't seen one farm turn into an apartment complex? And with Jordan Landing what says suburban sprawl more than one its three "super" stores. 71.219.90.110 15:34, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Jordan Landing is obviously very correlated and archetypical of sprawl. I concede that. But a picture of it is better suited to the "Developments characteristic of sprawl" section or "Examples of sprawl" than "Increased transportation costs". The picture does not convey any information demonstrating tranportation. A picture of highways or exit ramps leading to it would be appropriate in this section.--Loodog 15:43, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
There you go. Discuss it in the discussion page rather than merely continue a childish reversion war. So, the question is whether a particular place makes a good example, and of what. First step in developing this theme is to put in a mere link to its own Jordan Landing article. That article should then be expanded to describe how that place fits into various interpretations of "suburbia," "sprawl," "exurb," "edge city," "fast food," "transit oriented," "new urbanism" and whatnot. Once that's done, then decide how much should go into this article and how much should be reserved to the specific place article. As of now, the Jordan Landing article seems woefully short, not of references, but of exposition of how it fits into the various theoretical schemes that concern this article. And no, I know nothing of the place, living on a small island off the coast of New Jersey and not having seen Utah in the past thirty years. Jim.henderson 15:56, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Look, you can write about Jordan's Landing as an example of sprawl in this article; I'm just objecting to the placement of the picture.--Loodog 16:19, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll bolster its page first. 71.219.90.110 16:31, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Strange claim about intent[edit]

In many suburban communities, even stores and activities that are close by are contrived to be much further, by separating uses with fences, walls, and engineered drainage ditches.

Is this really intentional on the part of the designers, or is it just a case of completely automobile centric vision? Is there any evidence that strip mall designs actively want to discourage peds and bikes? If so, what is their motive? --Jaded-view 17:00, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Subsidies[edit]

I think there should be talk of all the subsidies that sprawl gets. Its, I think, the real reason we have sprawl.

In many places, governments are prohibited from charging for the (full) cost of adding the capacity to schools, parks, libraries, water supply (both source and main pipes), sewage disposal (both main pipes and plant), garbage disposal, arterial roads, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, etc that new development uses.

In addition, in lower density development, streets, transit service, water pipes, sewer pipes, electricity lines, telephone lines, cable television lines, garbage trucks, recycling trucks, postal service, UPS/FedEx/DHL/other mailing services, pizza/other delivery services, police, fire protection, etc must all travel/be extended farther to reach the same amount of people. Yet these people often do not have to pay the increased cost it takes to provide these services vs. in more compact/already developed areas. Jason McHuff 07:39, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

If government is prohibited from charging for the full cost of these services, who pays for them?--Rotten 16:06, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
Oops, that isn't quite clear. I meant that many local governments are prohibited from charging developers / people/businesses in newly developed areas / people/businesses in areas costlier to serve (because the people/businesses are farther apart) the full additional cost of the services they use. The additional cost is instead paid by everybody who lives in/pays taxes to the same district/government agency that provides the services.
For example, instead of a school district being able to charge a new development an impact fee and use that to build a new school for the new development to use, it must often ask everybody in the school district to pass a bond measure and pay for the new school with property taxes, even though most of the taxpayers don't live in the new development that the new school serves. Jason McHuff 20:11, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Overlapping points[edit]

Some of the points in Criticism overlaps with Response, should move them to either side and let the response be actual counterarguments, please... 124.82.15.61 15:54, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Are we done?[edit]

I'm very tempted to protect this article for a couple of days. Please stop the edit war and address the issues on this talk page. -- Donald Albury 23:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

The war seems to have died down, for the moment. I'll be keeping an eye on this article, as I'm sure others will - but if it gets bad again, feel free to report the incident to the Administrator's noticeboard or Request Page Protection. UltraExactZZ Claims ~ Evidence 13:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Taking one random claim added, that urban people live shorter lives than suburban people, is not supported by a quick perusal of google scholar (search for 'urban suburban lifespan') where the two papers I found in czech republic and china indicate that urban living is better than suburban and rural lifespan (richer people move to higher densities with greater amenity). In the US the differences in socioeconomic standing (black slums vs white suburban america) reverse the situation. The conclusion would be that richer people live longer, something that says nothing about urban sprawl. I would like to see some serious academic paper citations before accepting anything added by this person. --Jaded-view (talk) 02:49, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes. You have access to healthcare, you live longer.--Loodog (talk) 05:03, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Historically, cities have been population sinks. Diseases spread more easily in cities. Crowded buildings blocking sunshine from narrow streets and polluted air led to vitamin D deficiencies. Polluted air also caused respiratory problems; people were being directly killed by smog in London as recently as 1952. The relationship of factors affecting the relative health and lifespan of people living in cities, suburbs and rural areas is complex, and any discussion of the topic in Wikipedia calls for the use of solid reliable sources. -- Donald Albury 14:08, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Until the development of modern public health systems (a concept excoriated by conservatives, who considered it an unconscionable intrusion into private lives), urban life was more unhealthy; history is clear on that. Since the public health revolution led by groups like the Milwaukee Sewer Socialists, this is no longer true; history is also clear on that. So you are both right, and I hope this is in fact over.--Orange Mike | Talk 14:29, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Helsinki[edit]

I think it's misleading to give Helsinki as an example of urban sprawl. True, it has a very low population density but this is planned and distributed in a very different manner to the American and Australian cities otherwise listed. Much of Helsinki is composed of relatively small clusters of medium-high density housing, often three-story apartment blocks, surrounded by woodland and parks, rather than an endless array of large, detached houses with private gardens. Helsinki was actually carefully planned in this manner, and it creates walkable, centered, serviced communities whilst giving a great deal of space per person as well as a semi-rural feel.212.20.248.186 (talk) 14:18, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Petroleum Consumption Graph[edit]

The petroleum consumption graph in the article should be removed. The data is over 20 years old and is probably horribly inaccurate. UrbanNerd (talk) 13:15, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Landsat image[edit]

I don't know why UrbanNerd is determined to keep a low resolution landsat of Boston, but Boston and the surrounding communities comprise one of the densest regions in the United States (see List of U.S. states by population density with Massachusetts ranked third, the Boston metro area of course being the densest region of Massachusetts). This region is not only dense, but also old, with settlements (including those outside of Boston proper) dating to the 17th century. No doubt, there must be some modern subdivisions captured in the landsat image, but the resolution is so poor that readers will not be able to differentiate new from old. Lastly, the region is served by the third largest commuter rail system in the United States by ridership, and the fourth largest rapid transit system. It is, therefore, a terrible image with which to depict sprawl, which is defined in this article as more recent, car-dependent suburbs. Fletcher (talk) 17:12, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

First of all, DO NOT single out a user. Secondly you would have to be completely clueless to think Greater Boston does not have a sprawl problem. Just because it has less of a sprawl problem than other cities does not mean it does not have sprawl. The image clearly shows car dependent suburbs and "sprawling" from the inner city. The image is of low resolution and could be replaced. If you wish to find a better landsat image of say Chicago, St.Louis, Houston ? Than go ahead. But simply deleting the image with an ignorant comment is foolish. The excuse of "elsewhere has more sprawl" is not relevant. If you actually think Boston does not have sprawl I encourage you to reread this article and perhaps go to a local library and research the topic further. Also edit warring is not an effective way to get your point across. Please follow the revert, discuss cycle process. UrbanNerd (talk) 18:17, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I have to single you out; I don't have a disagreement with anyone else here. And please don't threaten me about 3RR or warn me about edit warring; you are in fact at three reverts yourself, and no less culpable of edit warring. So my comments are "ignorant"? It's pretty rich that you give me a sanctimonious lecture on wiki policy while flagrantly violating the civility policy in the same comment. To address your points, I did not say Boston does not have a sprawl problem; maybe it does, but a picture of metro Boston showing dense, old settlements that are served by public transportation does not illustrate the topic of this article. To show sprawl around Boston we should find a more detailed photo in which the reader can easily see the sprawl and won't confuse it with what is not generally considered sprawl. For example, one might look to the west of Boston and think, "oh, there's sprawl," but you'd be looking at Watertown and Waltham, both settled in the 1630s. So where, specifically, is the sprawl in this photo, and more importantly how is the reader supposed to tell where there's sprawl and where there isn't? Because sprawl is not "any development," but is defined in a more specific way in this article. I see from the edit history that you were the one who added the image, and I remind you that you don't own the article and you should be willing to accept people changing it. The article is already illustrated by several images and isn't harmed by losing this one. Fletcher (talk) 19:39, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I have no problem with "replacing" the image. I do have a problem with deleting the image citing Boston having no sprawl. The image clearly shows communities outside the beltway (I-95) with sprawl. (Dover, Wayland, etc) Perhaps the image could be replaced with another that better shows sprawl. UrbanNerd (talk) 21:58, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Random Paper Sentence[edit]

It looked like someone added a sentence from a paper in the 2nd paragraph just to have it on the wiki page...it was out of place and made no sense whatsoever so I removed it Random2001 (talk) 16:05, 13 November 2011 (UTC)

Is "urban sprawl" an oxymoron?[edit]

If urban places are defined in terms of walkability, and sprawling places are defined in terms of their drivability and lack of walkability, then urban sprawl is an oxymoron. At best, "urban" and "sprawl" are difficult to reconcile. To the uninitiated, it would appear that sprawl is a characteristic of urban places since it's usually referenced by the term "urban sprawl.

Similar confusions arise from terms like "urban development" and "urbanization." Both of these terms are used to refer to all forms of metropolitan development, even suburban greenfield development, which is universally understood to be suburban, by both proponents and detractors of suburbs.

The term "urban sprawl" is misleading. For the purposes of Wikipedia, maybe there should be a change in the name of the article to "Sprawl," with a disambiguation page listing of "Sprawl (planning concept)." Oldsanfelipe (talk) 15:30, 19 July 2013 (UTC)oldsanfelipe

"Urban" in this context refers to development of the kinds of facilities and infrastructure historically unique to cities. That is why the word is retained in the situations you reference. Nobody calls it "sprawl"; "urban sprawl" is the WP:COMMONNAME, regardless of whether this offends your sense of logic or not. --Orange Mike | Talk 17:51, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
Orange Mike wrote, "Nobody calls it 'sprawl.'" At best this statement is an exaggeration. Clearly "somebody" uses the term sprawl: James Howard Kunstler is one example. If you are claiming that "urban sprawl" is the common word, how many sources do you have for this?Oldsanfelipe (talk) 16:27, 6 December 2014 (UTC)oldsanfelipe

New York as an example of Urban Sprawl[edit]

The Northeast Megalopolis (Boston, New York, Washington, and areas in between) is a horrible example of urban sprawl. It's large, and taken in aggregate it's not very dense, but the majority of the population is clustered in urban centers with density far higher than, say, Los Angeles. Many people in New York who can afford cars choose not to buy them because the public transportation infrastructure really is that good. Just because a metropolitan area is geographically large doesn't mean it's sprawling. I've taken down the satellite image of BosWash. Hopefully someone can find a better image to illustrate the phenomenon. Quodfui (talk) 23:19, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Urban sprawl[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Urban sprawl's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "Jenkins":

  • From Lawn: Jenkins, Virginia S. The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession. Smithsonian Institution, 1994.
  • From Sunbury Pop Festival: Jenkins, Jeff; Meldrum, Ian (2007). "Festivals". Molly Meldrum Presents 50 Years of Rock in Australia. Melbourne: Wilkinson Publishing. pp. 245–251. ISBN 978-1-921332-11-1. 

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 02:49, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Economic analysis of urban sprawl[edit]

    Urban planners and geographers define, measure and describe sprawl mainly by the physical characteristics of urban development and land use. They are mostly focused on discovering various adverse effects associated with a sprawled pattern of urban development. 
    Economists first try to understand the human behavior that causes urban sprawl. Secondly, economists focus on whether more or less urban sprawl is a consequence of a more efficient allocation of resources. Armed with such understanding, economists then can evaluate various fiscal instruments and government policies that improve resource allocation and see how such improvements change urban sprawl.
    The tools used by economists are theoretical models of urban development that can be solved under simple assumptions, as well as more advanced models of various degrees of complexity and sophistication that are calibrated with data and are solved numerically using computers.

Geographic versus economic sprawl[edit]

     Anas and Rhee [1] made a distinction between geographic and economic sprawl. Their definition of geographic sprawl is the total land in an urban area that is covered by roads, buildings or other structures and private yards and this is either the same or similar to the various physical definitions used by non-economists. They defined economic sprawl as the total cost of the trips that people make in commuting, in shopping, and in interacting with each other etc.  
     The challenging idea here is that there can be enormous geographical sprawl with little economic sprawl or a great deal of economic sprawl with little geographic sprawl. It all depends on the preference for and feasibility of low density living on the one hand, which increases geographic sprawl; and the cost of travel which depends on the technology of travel on the other hand.

Actual versus optimal sprawl[edit]

     An important issue for economists is the difference between actual sprawl and optimal sprawl. Economists have tried to understand whether the actual sprawl that we observe in the real world is too much or too little. And this question can be asked both for geographic and for economic sprawl. 
     To understand the optimal amount of sprawl, economists examine whether resources are optimally allocated according to the principles of economic efficiency. Resources are allocated by markets and, in the case of urban sprawl, the most relevant markets are the land, housing and labor markets of urban areas. Urban areas are characterized by important externalities that cause resources to be allocated inefficiently. Perhaps the most important such externality is road traffic congestion and it is intimately related to land use. Each car traveler produces a trip by getting on the road and thus occupying some road capacity which delays others, but the traveler does not pay for the cost of the delay that he/she imposes on others. Therefore traveling is underpriced and the private cost of traveling experienced by the traveler on a trip that takes place under congested conditions is below the social cost of the trip. This means that there will be too many trips and too much congestion. With too much congestion, the economic sprawl measured as aggregate travel cost, will be too high. But it is not clear a priori whether too much congestion will cause too much or too little geographic sprawl. 
     Policy should be aimed at pricing traffic congestion better, the source of the externality, not aimed at reducing sprawl directly. If this is done, the level of congestion will decrease. But whether urban sprawl increases or decreases will depend on various factors. The key point is that overall economic well-being will increase by pricing congestion. Such higher economic welfare can be associated with more sprawl or with less sprawl.

Urban sprawl in the monocentric model[edit]

    The monocentric model refers to a very simple tool used by urban economists to understand cities. In this model, it is assumed that all work happens in only one city center or downtown but workers reside in housing spread all around the downtown. In the basic monocentric model, economists assume that job locations in the downtown are not allowed to change no matter what happens. Using such a model in the 1970s, before urban sprawl had entered common parlance, Arnott [2] and Kanemoto [3] showed that if congestion is unpriced the urban area would be too spread out, covering too much land. Pines and Sadka [4] took this result a step further by arguing that urban growth boundaries that limit urban land expansion would work as a good substitute for congestion tolling in a monocentric city in which congestion pricing cannot be implemented.

When is more geographic sprawl a consequence of optimal resource allocation?[edit]

     This issue was studied in three different contexts that depart from the assumptions of the monocentric model, and in each context it was shown that more geographic sprawl can indeed be the consequence of reducing the congestion externality and the total road cost of travel. 
      The first context is the suburbanization model of Anas and Rhee [5]. They showed that when congestion tolls are levied on road traffic, it can occur that more residents choose to reside and work in the suburbs in order to avoid the higher congestion tolls associated with the longer commuting from the suburbs to the city. As this happens, the suburban and total urban land areas expand. So economic sprawl decreases while geographic sprawl increases as economic welfare improves. The actual geographic sprawl before the tolls are levied is too little. The policy implication of this result is that when pricing congestion is not possible, planners could adopt policies that give suburbs more room to expand at the expense of agriculture (expansive as opposed to restrictive urban growth boundaries), lowering the price of suburban residential land, thus inducing more people to live and work in the suburbs, which in turn reduces the cost of travel but does so by increasing the total suburban land area. 
      In a different context, Anas and Pines [6] showed that if there are two unequal-in-population cities in which all residents are employed in the downtowns only, then when congestion is priced in both cities, population will shift from the larger more congested city to the smaller less congested one causing congestion to decrease in the larger city, and to increase in the smaller city, while the sum of congestion in both cities decreases. Geographic sprawl in the large city decreases, but it increases by more in the smaller city, as economic welfare improves. Such an outcome occurs, when the elasticity of substitution between residential land and other goods is small enough so that the residents that move from the larger city to the smaller city in order to avoid the impact of the higher congestion tolls in the larger city on their disposable incomes, demand houses with sufficiently large land areas.  In this case, when congestion tolls cannot be used, welfare can be improved by using a restrictive urban boundary that limits the land area of the larger city while at the same time using an expansive growth boundary that increases the land area of the smaller city.  
       In the third context, Anas and Pines [7] modeled a system of many identical cities or towns where each city is created by a required infrastructure investment. In each city, workers can only work in the downtown. When congestion is priced, each city can become smaller in population and in land area, less dense and less congested but more cities are created which alleviates congestion by spreading the total population over more cities. While the geographic sprawl in each city decreases, the sum of the land areas of the towns increases. Again, more sprawl across the system of cities is associated with an improvement in economic welfare.      
      These insights are important for several reasons. First, planners and geographers should not reach conclusions about the desirability or undesirability of urban sprawl unless they first understand the economic behavior that causes urban sprawl. Second, there are situations as explained above where the conclusions about urban sprawl depend on whether we are looking at only one urban area or many interconnected urban areas. Where the aim is to reduce economic sprawl, the correct policy may well be to reduce urban sprawl in each urban area, but creating more urban sprawl in the aggregate by creating more but smaller urban areas. Or the opposite may be true: to create more urban sprawl in each urban area while reducing it in the aggregate by creating fewer but larger urban areas.

Economic analysis of urban sprawl[edit]

Urban planners and geographers define, measure and describe sprawl mainly by the physical characteristics of urban development and land use. They are mostly focused on discovering various adverse effects associated with a sprawled pattern of urban development. Economists first try to understand the human behavior that causes urban sprawl. Secondly, economists focus on whether more or less urban sprawl is a consequence of a more efficient allocation of resources. Armed with such understanding, economists then can evaluate various fiscal instruments and government policies that improve resource allocation and see how such improvements change urban sprawl. The tools used by economists are theoretical models of urban development that can be solved under simple assumptions, as well as more advanced models of various degrees of complexity and sophistication that are calibrated with data and are solved numerically using computers.

Geographic versus economic sprawl

Anas and Rhee made a distinction between geographic and economic sprawl. Their definition of geographic sprawl is the total land in an urban area that is covered by roads, buildings or other structures and private yards and this is either the same or similar to the various physical definitions used by non-economists. They defined economic sprawl as the total cost of the trips that people make in commuting, in shopping, and in interacting with each other etc. The challenging idea here is that there can be enormous geographical sprawl with little economic sprawl or a great deal of economic sprawl with little geographic sprawl. It all depends on the preference for and feasibility of low density living on the one hand, which increases geographic sprawl; and the cost of travel which depends on the technology of travel on the other hand.



Actual versus optimal sprawl

An important issue for economists is the difference between actual sprawl and optimal sprawl. Economists have tried to understand whether the actual sprawl that we observe in the real world is too much or too little. And this question can be asked both for geographic and for economic sprawl. To understand the optimal amount of sprawl, economists examine whether resources are optimally allocated according to the principles of economic efficiency. Resources are allocated by markets and, in the case of urban sprawl, the most relevant markets are the land, housing and labor markets of urban areas. Urban areas are characterized by important externalities that cause resources to be allocated inefficiently. Perhaps the most important such externality is road traffic congestion and it is intimately related to land use. Each car traveler produces a trip by getting on the road and thus occupying some road capacity which delays others, but the traveler does not pay for the cost of the delay that he/she imposes on others. Therefore traveling is underpriced and the private cost of traveling experienced by the traveler on a trip that takes place under congested conditions is below the social cost of the trip. This means that there will be too many trips and too much congestion. With too much congestion, the economic sprawl measured as aggregate travel cost, will be too high. But it is not clear a priori whether too much congestion will cause too much or too little geographic sprawl. Policy should be aimed at pricing traffic congestion better, the source of the externality, not aimed at reducing sprawl directly. If this is done, the level of congestion will decrease. But whether urban sprawl increases or decreases will depend on various factors. The key point is that overall economic well-being will increase by pricing congestion. Such higher economic welfare can be associated with more sprawl or with less sprawl.

Urban sprawl in the monocentric model

The monocentric model refers to a very simple tool used by urban economists to understand cities. In this model, it is assumed that all work happens in only one city center or downtown but workers reside in housing spread all around the downtown. In the basic monocentric model, economists assume that job locations in the downtown are not allowed to change no matter what happens. Using such a model in the 1970s, before urban sprawl had entered common parlance, Arnott [2] and Kanemoto [3] showed that if congestion is unpriced the urban area would be too spread out, covering too much land. Pines and Sadka [4] took this result a step further by arguing that urban growth boundaries that limit urban land expansion would work as a good substitute for congestion tolling in a monocentric city in which congestion pricing cannot be implemented.

When is more geographic sprawl a consequence of optimal resource allocation?

This issue was studied in three different contexts that depart from the assumptions of the monocentric model, and in each context it was shown that more geographic sprawl can indeed be the consequence of reducing the congestion externality and the total road cost of travel. The first context is the suburbanization model of Anas and Rhee [5]. They showed that when congestion tolls are levied on road traffic, it can occur that more residents choose to reside and work in the suburbs in order to avoid the higher congestion tolls associated with the longer commuting from the suburbs to the city. As this happens, the suburban and total urban land areas expand. So economic sprawl decreases while geographic sprawl increases as economic welfare improves. The actual geographic sprawl before the tolls are levied is too little. The policy implication of this result is that when pricing congestion is not possible, planners could adopt policies that give suburbs more room to expand at the expense of agriculture (expansive as opposed to restrictive urban growth boundaries), lowering the price of suburban residential land, thus inducing more people to live and work in the suburbs, which in turn reduces the cost of travel but does so by increasing the total suburban land area. In a different context, Anas and Pines [6] showed that if there are two unequal-in-population cities in which all residents are employed in the downtowns only, then when congestion is priced in both cities, population will shift from the larger more congested city to the smaller less congested one causing congestion to decrease in the larger city, and to increase in the smaller city, while the sum of congestion in both cities decreases. Geographic sprawl in the large city decreases, but it increases by more in the smaller city, as economic welfare improves. Such an outcome occurs, when the elasticity of substitution between residential land and other goods is small enough so that the residents that move from the larger city to the smaller city in order to avoid the impact of the higher congestion tolls in the larger city on their disposable incomes, demand houses with sufficiently large land areas. In this case, when congestion tolls cannot be used, welfare can be improved by using a restrictive urban boundary that limits the land area of the larger city while at the same time using an expansive growth boundary that increases the land area of the smaller city. In the third context, Anas and Pines [7] modeled a system of many identical cities or towns where each city is created by a required infrastructure investment. In each city, workers can only work in the downtown. When congestion is priced, each city can become smaller in population and in land area, less dense and less congested but more cities are created which alleviates congestion by spreading the total population over more cities. While the geographic sprawl in each city decreases, the sum of the land areas of the towns increases. Again, more sprawl across the system of cities is associated with an improvement in economic welfare. These insights are important for several reasons. First, planners and geographers should not reach conclusions about the desirability or undesirability of urban sprawl unless they first understand the economic behavior that causes urban sprawl. Second, there are situations as explained above where the conclusions about urban sprawl depend on whether we are looking at only one urban area or many interconnected urban areas. Where the aim is to reduce economic sprawl, the correct policy may well be to reduce urban sprawl in each urban area, but creating more urban sprawl in the aggregate by creating more but smaller urban areas. Or the opposite may be true: to create more urban sprawl in each urban area while reducing it in the aggregate by creating fewer but larger urban areas — Preceding unsigned comment added by Andromeda501 (talkcontribs) 23:22, 24 August 2016 (UTC)