• King of Sprawl

    Does sprawl kill?  Looks like it.  This study found that people who live in sprawling counties—places with low population densities and poorly connected street grids, and with rigid segregation between stores, businesses and residences—are more likely to die in a car crash.  Apparently, living in the sort of place where you can’t get anywhere without a car makes you drive more.  And people who drive more tend to crash more. ...
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  • Sprawling Alone

    InBowling Alone, Robert Putnam argues that the decline of social capital in the United States can be attributed partly to urban form. In other words, according to Putnam, sprawl is at least partly to blame for the present derth of bowling leagues. But is it really? Putnam’s arguments (summarized at the end of Chapter 12) are threefold. “Sprawl takes time” and results in more time spent alone in a car...
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  • Lessons on Sprawl and Transit…from Los Angeles?

    Well, from the LA Times, at least.  The paper’s had a series of guest editorials about traffic, transit and urban planning—specifically, how sprawling, congested LA can get itself out of the fix it’s put itself into over the last 60 years or so.  The LA area is surprisingly dense, but the population is spread out fairly uniformly over a large area—which makes it very hard to service the region cost-effectively...
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  • Sprawl Rebounds

    One crude measure of sprawl is the share of new housing that is going into the central city, as compared to surburbs and outlying areas. On this measure, King County excelled in 2000 when the county’s Annual Growth Report revealed that fully 45 percent of permits to build new housing had been given for projects inside the city of Seattle. The city has 32 percent of the county’s population, so...
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  • Greater Portland Population Growth and Sprawl

    Person for person in the last decade, new development in metropolitan Portland consumed less than half as much land as the average city in a 15-city study by Sightline Institute.
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  • Population Growth and Sprawl, Greater Charlotte, NC

    Greater Charlotte, North Carolina was the most sprawling of the 15 cities studied in the Sightline report, The Portland Exception. More than 2 out of every 3 residents live in low-density sprawl.
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  • Sprawl League

    We just posted a new Cascadia Scorecard report on sprawl trends. Find it here. The gist is that Oregon has done a good job of protecting rural land around Portland: it’s the best of eight similar cities on that score. It’s not as good at channeling growth into compact neighborhoods.
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  • Sprawl Gobbles Paychecks

    The price of gasoline has again dipped below (US) $2 per gallon in most of Cascadia, though it’s still up about 40 cents from its January level. This increase has hit low-income drivers harder than anyone else, as the Wall Street Journal documented two days ago. (Subscription required, login, then search July 12 for Jeffrey Ball’s frontpage article “For Many Low-Income Workers, High Gasoline Prices Take a Toll.”) Jeffrey Ball...
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  • The Weight of Sprawl

    University of British Columbia researcher Lawrence Frank has documented the sprawl-driving-obesity connection more rigorously than anyone else, with his massive new study of Atlanta. (Pdf of study here.) The gist: The more you drive and the less you walk—and the more sprawling your neighborhood—the more likely you are to be obese. Among other findings, as summarized by AP: How much time a person spent driving had a greater impact on...
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  • It's a Sprawl World After All

    Discouraging, but far from unexpected. In an excellent post, blogger Kevin Drum summarizes the dilemma of making transit work in sparsely populated suburbs, using data from Joel Garreau’s Edge City. According to Garreau, the “floor-to-area” ratio (or FAR)—the ratio of the floor space of buildings to the land on which they sit—is highly predictive of transportation conditions. At an average ratio of 1.0 (that is, where the total floorspace of...
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