Free Essay

Urban Sprawl

In: Other Topics

Submitted By latenny
Words 1493
Pages 6
URAN SPRAWL: DIAGNOSIS AND REMEDIES

Throughout this article, the main focus is urban sprawl and the non-endearing remedies to fix this growing concern. Three influential forces are the end results of urban sprawl: a growing population, rising incomes, and falling commuting costs. Although these sound positive to societies well being, market failures are distorting their positive social desirability. The allocation of agricultural land converted to urban usage has justified the criticism of urban sprawl by not accounting for the benefits of open space, social costs of road congestion, and developers failing to pay for the infrastructure costs generated. The remedies projected for these market failures in hope of alleviating the spatial size of the city are developmental taxes and congestion tolls (1).

Critics raise a few questions about urban sprawl and the possible remedies policy makers could enact. But, are they are justifiable? The first one is, is urban sprawl truly a growing problem affecting American society? Throughout the article, Brueckner states both views on urban sprawl: The criticism against it and how to prevent it, and the benefits of urban sprawl to American society. Another question addressed is, is urban sprawl contributing to the decay of downtown areas? With the growth of urban development, the incentive to rebuild land and housing closer to the city center is reduced. This is because developers can purchase large amounts of farmland further away from the city for cheaper costs and supply the demand for larger houses by Americans. The article proposes another question, is urban sprawl reducing social interaction, creating an unhealthy society? This may seem like a minimal concern, but in actuality reduced social interaction could weaken our society. People spreading out to areas of low population density, has diluted the bonds that create a healthy, involved society. Reduced social interaction could be detrimental for society, since people thrive off one another’s ideas, opinions, views and values. Lastly the article proposes the question, does the invisible hand, which guides the conversion of land to urban use, push too hard in the direction of larger cities? The allocation of land is governed by competition between urban and agricultural use, but society has increasingly driven the land to urban use, by the want of bigger houses and more living space. The population growth with increased household incomes and improved transportation developments are believed to be responsible for the increase of urban sprawl (1).

The main issues of the sprawl include: the failure to account for social value of open space that is converted to urban use, people not recognizing the social costs of commuting, and real estate developers not accounting for the public infrastructure costs they generate. Individually, these issues are completely unrelated, but together they are all effects of urban sprawl. Cities now only take up a small portion of land in the United States. Policy makers have difficulty determining a monetary value on the social benefits of open-space land; this allows developers to easily outbid farmers. Critics state that to remedy this problem, the government needs to implement a tax on the land that is converted to urban use. But, critics then oppose a tax by observing this would be a counterproductive task, since in order to assign a policy for land conservation, there must be a monetary value placed on the social benefits of open space.
Commuting is a norm for a lot of Americans. The want to live in a quiet, open area with a large house has driven people to endure the long commute to the cities for work. The failure to account for commuting costs institutes a market failure because it looks cheap to individuals that choose to commute on congested roadways, which people in society’s view are overused. In the article, critics propose instituting congestion tolls to deter commuters of urban sprawl, since the proper amount of tolls can be determined reliably. But critics suggests that congestion tolls may not fix urban sprawl because commuters will just switch to public transportation or employers may change their work hours to differ from the common work hours to avoid when the tolls are collected (1).
Most people do not realize the costs of public infrastructures associated with urban use. To accommodate for the growth of population constructed by new housing developments, governments must construct public roads, sewers, schools, parks, and recreation are to be built. One may think that homeowners pay for this infrastructure through the property taxes, but in actuality, a market failure arises. The property taxes on the new homeowners are less than the actual infrastructure costs generated, because the costs are shared among the city as a whole. This accelerates urban sprawl because homeowners can pay higher prices for houses since the property taxes are at average cost not marginal cost. In the article, critics propose that altering the financial systems of infrastructures, where the developer is made to pay the costs of the new infrastructure upfront, would greatly deter the growth of new housing developments. Critics then oppose this idea by stating that the impact fees historically have been challenged in court by the developers that the methods used to calculate the infrastructure costs are flawed, and do not properly state the true costs (1).
In the article, the use of urban growth boundaries was mentioned as a possible blunt remedy of urban sprawl. Critic’s state that UGBs are the easiest to enact, but it is hard to determine where exactly the boundaries for a city should be cut off. This could be detrimental to a city by increasing population density of the city and intensely increasing housing costs. They then oppose this idea saying that the best remedies of urban sprawl would be to attack the problem at the source by implementing taxes and policies. By attacking urban sprawl with those remedies, it can help the redevelopment of the decaying central cities. Critics condemn urban spatial spread, for it weakens social interaction of society and they want to return cities to high-density places of intermixing social bonds of people. Even though society’s demand for suburbanization has proven that urban sprawl is what they want, the critics believe that this will make society better off by reflecting formal urban lifestyles (1).

Urban sprawl is not only affecting American Society but is a worldwide problem. According to scientists, by 2030 cities will reach a combined size of the countries, France, Germany, and Spain, if current urban development patterns continue. With the world population increasing from 7 billion to 9 billion by the year 2050, mostly all the growth will be in urban developments (2). Transportation is essential for the development of urban development, but is a pressing concern for environmental health. To show how urban sprawl is truly affecting America, here are some statistics from the World Resource Institute: 46% of people in New York City have personal vehicles, compared to 95% of suburban households having personal vehicles. This is because urban developers do not use efficient designs, which making the simplest task require the use of cars. In the city, people on average spend 9% of their income on transportation, whereas suburban households spend on average 25% of their income on transportation (4). The United States is not the only country where urban sprawl is a growing issue. In developing countries, their share of private transportation will rise from 25% in the year 1995 to 48% in 2050 (3).

The growing environmental issues dealing with urban sprawl is what personally concerns me. I live in St. Mary’s County, which is a very rural area of the southern most part of Maryland and is about an hour and half away from Washington D.C. This area has always predominately been farmland, but, in the last decade, it has increasingly became urbanized with more housing developments taking over farmland. I know personally a lot of people in that area have jobs in the city and commute everyday to work. I desperately think that there needs to be public policies enacted to control urban sprawl, or in the next decade St. Mary’s farmland will be almost nonexistent.

Pollution, congestion, and depletion of agricultural land are all pressing effects of urban sprawl that needs to be fixed immediately before we harm the environment even more so. Personally having urban sprawl effect my life has let me witness the damaging effects that comes along with this problem. It is an issue that is uncontrolled by policies and regulations, and will only continually get out of hand the longer it goes unregulated.

WORKS CITED 1. “Urban Sprawl: Diagnosis and Remedies.” International Regional Science Review 23,2: 160-171. Brueckner (2000). 2. http://www.livescience.com/19302-swelling-cities-threaten-humanity.html. “Swelling Cities Threaten Humanity, Experts Say.” LiveScience Staff (2012). 3. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197397509000757. “Habitat International.” Pengjun Zhao (2010). 4. http://www.embarq.org/en/problem/urban-sprawl. “Urban Sprawl.” World Resource Institute (2011).

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Urban Sprawl

...Assignment Two Urban sprawl, being one of the unavoidable adverse effects of global economic growth, means uncontrolled city expansion. It contributes to higher demand in consumption goods such as the gasoline and vehicles, which allows the economy continues to flourish in many developed countries as well as developing countries (especially in China). However, urbanization poses an acute ecological threat because it highly depends on the massive development of motorization which is a significant driver of more energy and lands consumption and more emissions of global warming gases. Furthermore, as the motorized urban sprawl means unhealthier, less affordable places for the poor to survive caused by the dispersal of their communities, on the one hand, and growing public health problems, on the other, it also creates serious social problems. To address these adverse effects of urbanization, the technological solution is recommended given that nowadays technology plays a crucial role in socio-ecological development. This essay will outline the problems driven by urbanization and argue that the technological solution is not the most fundamental one to deal with the social and ecological problem driven by urban sprawl. In terms of social problems associated with the spread of urban development, the technological solution may pose greater difficulties to cope with the social polarization in the sprawled cities. The global development of urban sprawl will lead to the......

Words: 1005 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Urban Sprawl

...reduction of valuable farmland near cities and increased urban pollution. Urban sprawl affects the environment by destroying native habitats and increasing urban pollution including air pollution from increased traffic and urban waste into waterways. There are many definitions of urban sprawl. The Heinemann Atlas states that urban sprawl means the spread of urban areas into rural areas such as farmland, forests and coastal lands that lie on the outer edges of cities. In other words, urban sprawl is described by development that increases the distance between the city center and its outer edge. (2003, HYPERLINK "http://www.hi.com.au/atlas/updates/bg.asp?subtopicid=3619" http://www.hi.com.au/atlas/updates/bg.asp?subtopicid=3619) It is estimated that 88% of the world’s population growth next century will be in urban areas. This phenomenon especially in Australia where more than 80% of the people live in cities and coastal areas. Australia’s cities however will continue to grow and the numbers of people both live and work will increase. A number of Australian cities have the problems that associated with urban sprawl. Indeed, some of Australia’s cities are considered the world’s worst in terms of their sprawling nature. For example, Perth’s metropolitan area currently spreads more than 100 kilometers in a North-South direction. The city of Wanneroo, in the Northern suburbs of Perth, is the second fastest growing urban area in Australia. (2003, HYPERLINK......

Words: 1267 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Urban Sprawl

...Urban sprawl and motorization are currently critical issues, because together they cause environmental problems as well as ecological and social issues which pose a threat to human health and social stability. Urban sprawl also called urban development, as expansion from the centre to outskirt, more cars are used, and then, leads to more vehicles exhaust emissions which are the main factor of climate change. More car use results in motorization, a lack of communications with friends and family results in social fragmentation. The Global Climate Coalition (GCC), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and environmentalists suggest answers to these problems. This essay argues that some solutions work more effectively to these focusing on climate change, loss of land and negative impacts on public health. Climate change forms a serious threat to the environment, urban sprawl has resulted in serious emission of greenhouse gases as more cars are used which requires more energy use. Then, more and more global warming gases are released which leads to critical environmental problems. Martin (2007) points out car and land use lead to more greenhouse emissions. And cars and facilities are the main producers of global warming. Thereby, Environmental problems are having become acute in the twenty-first century. Gonzalez (2005) also indicates that expansion the city results in more emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, and more energy use which is also a main...

Words: 853 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Urban Sprawl

...The development of urban motorization in big cities has caused some negative effects to their population. Social issues and ecological issues are the main problems that occur in those cities. There are some reasons that lead to the motorization era in the cities. One of them is urban sprawl. Urban sprawl is the enlargement of city’s development that spread far away from the centre to the outskirt of that city. Urban sprawl is the result of the increasing urbanization. Although urban sprawl is the main aspect that can develop capitalism, it still has some negative impacts on the city. Motorization as one of the impacts of urban sprawl relates very closely to the transportation system. Motorization happens when people mostly use cars for traveling in the city and it relates closely with the development of an automobile industry in that city. The rise of the automobile industry supports the spread of urban sprawl even more. People can travel longer distances in shorter time. That is why the growth of the automobile industry is related to urban sprawl. There are some solutions to determine the urban sprawl issues called ecological modernization. According to AEP 9 lecture one, ecological modernization is a scientific research to find the answer to how the world can be sustain economically and socially at the same time without damaging the environment. Some business groups are trying to find a solution for the urban sprawl issues based on ecological modernization. According to...

Words: 1110 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Urban Sprawl

...Urban sprawl is the product of industrialization. The sprawl pattern of urban development reflects the progress of human society. However, in the original intention of increasing economic benefits and motivating automobile industries, urban sprawl also brings a series of malpractices gradually on contrary to the expectation. It results in not only the ecological problems, but also the social problems. Despite the fact that technological solutions serve humanity, assisting them to alter the natural environment, technological solutions have not achieved the capacity to solve all the problems absolutely in current society. Consequently, this essay holds the view that technological solutions cannot adequately address both the ecological problems and the social problems for the reason that technological solutions are just the makeshift methods to alleviate the exterior problems, and have not raveled out these problems from the fountainhead. Technological solutions only can try to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions, but cannot completely cope with global warming at the background of global motorization, which is the deniable fact. Apparently, it is unfair and unpractical for developing countries to limit the carbon emissions. According to Huimin Li and Ye Qi (2012), the carbon emissions have positive correlation with the increasing of GDP. Hence, it is no denying that developing countries like China have tremendous demanding for boosting the industry and the manufacturing. For......

Words: 1072 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Commuting, Transportation and Urban Sprawl

...Commuting, Transportation Spending and Urban Sprawl Roy L. Coxon April 29, 2015 Dr. Hatten My overall topic for my research project is Commuting, Transportation Spending and Urban Sprawl. The purpose of this project is to design a research study to determine and clarify what effect urban sprawl has on private-vehicle commuting costs and household expenditures. Let us first look at the definition of sprawl. There is no universally accepted definition although there have numerous attempts to institute a unified definition of this multifaceted concept. Sprawl is defined as low-density development with residential, shopping and office areas that are isolated, a lack of thriving centers and limited choices in travel routes (Ewing, 2002). Sprawl is ever-present and its effects are impacting the quality of life in every region of America, in our large cities and small towns. The contextual factors (historical) of sprawl go back to 1937 when Earle Draper first created the term “sprawl” in 1937 (Nechyba, 2004). To document the presence of urban sprawl and urban population levels is to look within urban areas at the evolving relationship between suburbs and central cities. The conversion of a primarily rural population in 1790 became increasingly centered in cities over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Only about 5 percent of the U.S. population lived in urban areas in 1790 as that figure tripled by 1850 and surpassed 50 percent by 1920. The 2000 Census...

Words: 2497 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Urban Sprawl in India

...-Chapter8 10/16/02 10:21 AM Page 176 Page 1 of 3 Urban Sprawl How can urban sprawl be controlled? Main Ideas • Many metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada have sprawled, or spread out, farther and farther. • Cities are focusing on smartgrowth solutions to urban sprawl. Places & Terms A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Richard Baron is a real estate developer who urban sprawl infrastructure smart growth sustainable community tried to address the related problems of urban sprawl and inadequate low-income housing. In 1996, he began building Murphy Park, an affordable and attractive housing complex in mid-town St. Louis, Missouri. The development has more than 400 units and contains both apartments and townhouses. It has plenty of green space, art and day-care centers, and an elementary school. More than half of Murphy Park’s units are reserved for people with low income. Baron’s solution—to bring the attractive features of suburban living to the city—is one of many that are being applied to the problem of urban sprawl. Growth Without a Plan Those Americans and Canadians who can afford it often choose to work in a city but live in its suburbs. They are usually attracted by new, upscale housing, better public services, and open space. As suburbs become more numerous, metropolitan areas become larger and more difficult to manage. (See chart to the right.) Growth of U.S. Metropolitan Areas URBAN SPRAWL Poorly planned development that spreads a city’s......

Words: 1368 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Urban Sprawl and Motorisation

...Urban sprawl and motorization have led to significant environmental and social problems. Suggestions have been made by various groups to solve these problems. Do some solutions work more efficiently than others? Urban sprawl, first originated from the US, in the second half of the 19th century, now has become a global phenomenon that is in the center of many different organizations – political, environmental and social groups due to its considerable harmful effects, mainly on ecology and sociology as most people believe. The main causes of this big-scale mass migration to the city outskirts were the birth of the automobile, affordability of fossil fuels, development of infrastructure – specifically the roads and its mass usage and production now referred to as motorization. As it was at the beginning and still is now, the driving force for this process of moving out of city resulting in bigger houses, individualized and privatized cars, vast transportation facilities, and greater contribution to the carbon dioxide emissions was the economical, rather than social, which actually government and business groups possessed interest in as it was fertile environment for their businesses. “Automobile manufacturers, gasoline producers, utilities, and the makers of home appliances have come to rely on the sprawled urban form to create and expand markets for their products” (Gonzalez, G.A, 2005, “Urban Sprawl, Global Warming and The Limits of Ecological Modernization”,......

Words: 647 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Urban Sprawl in India

...Gurgaon, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Bangalore occupying areas up to 1000 acres and beyond. Rapid urban growth, marked by the number of million-plus cities increasing from 23 in 1991 to 35 in 2001, has led to the problems of urban sprawl, unregulated ribbon development, increasing problems of inadequate urban infrastructure and deteriorating quality of urban livability. The lack of planning that characterizes most suburban growth has resulted in higher transportation costs in terms of money, time and inconvenience for suburban residents, in higher public sector costs, in undesirable land use patterns and in the inadequate supply of open spaces, recreational facilities and other amenities. Overall, the unplanned and uncontrolled rapid growth has resulted in serious negative effects on the urban dwellers and their environment. Changing employment scenario Indian Cities are in the process of adapting new economic realities. City-level economic development is slowly shifting away from industrial activities to more sophisticated knowledge base systems. According toMuttur (2008), total labor force in urban areas increased from 57.15 million in 1983 to 80.6 million in 1993–1994 and to 92.95 million in 1999–2000. The ratio of urban to rural labor productivity increased from 2.32 in 1980–1981 to 2.34 in 1993–1994 and to 2.83 in 1999–2000. In addition, the annual growth of urban labor shows a remarkable increase from 2.26% during 1993–1994 to 8.38% during 1999–2000. The......

Words: 7489 - Pages: 30

Free Essay

Levittown: Visionary Urban Design or Just Urban Sprawl?

...Levittown: Visionary Urban Design or just Urban Sprawl? Gail A Bigelow April 23, 2006 University of Central Florida Levittown: Visionary Urban Design or just Urban Sprawl? Levittown isn’t a visionary product of high design, there weren’t any major architects to give it pizzazz yet it endures today, by sheer force of will, to be the working stiff’s utopia, his escape from the inner city, the place where he could get away from the noise and dust of the city, a place that was affordable, where he could be king of his own single-family detached castle, he could enhance his quality of life and be just far enough away, but not too far… After World War II the returning veterans demands for housing became more insatiable, it was a right, given what they had been through. Returning veterans were living in attics, basements and Quonset huts or sharing housing with others in the same boat. The young men and women were ready to get back to a normal life – get married and have families and that meant finding a place of their own. The houses were their reward. A single-family house in the suburbs, fully equipped with the best appliances, became a patriotic mission. Many were looking for something new and different than what they had grown up with, they wanted to get out of the inner cities. They knew they’d have to work in those cities, but they didn’t have to live there or raise a family there. During the...

Words: 4556 - Pages: 19

Free Essay

Urban Sprawl

...11/18/2014 Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world. Low Carbon Development .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform DESA | UN Economic and Soc +Menu Low Carbon Development The concept of low carbon development has its roots in the UNFCCC adopted in Rio in 1992. In the context of this convention, low carbon development is now generally expressed using the term low-emission development strategies (LEDS - also known as low-carbon development strategies, or low-carbon growth plans). Though no formally agreed definition exists, LEDS are generally used to describe forward-looking national economic development plans or strategies that encompass low-emission and/or climateresilient economic growth (OECD, IEA 2010). PUBLICATIONS Preparing Low‐Emission Climate‐ Resilient Development Strategies Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) Brazil Low‐Carbon Development Study LEDS have attracted interest in the climate negotiations as a soft alternative to voluntary or obligatory GHG emission reduction targets in developing countries (ECN, 2011). The initial proposal to introduce LEDS was put forward by the EU in 2008, highlighting how information on planned low-carbon pathways can help to inform the international community about funding needs and priorities and to help gauge the level of global climate change action (OECD, IEA 2010). The concept has been included in the negotiating texts under the UNFCCC since the run up to COP15 in Copenhagen in......

Words: 536 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Urban Sprawl

...Frontier or Sustainable Ethics in Your Region In my opinion, the Frontier Ethics is what is practiced most by humans. I think in some cases humans don't know the facts or have all the information that is needed pertaining to this topic, therefore Frontier Ethics is more dominant for most. However, I feel that if humans were educated in this subject that Sustainable ethics would be practiced more often. With that being said, thinking back on where I grew up I seem to remember that it seemed to be a combination of both Frontier Ethics & Sustainable Ethics depending on the situation at that given time. However, I would lean more towards sustainable ethics being the most prevalent. I had several Aunts and Uncles that had their own timber company and most of the timber was used in everyday living for them especially during the winter months. They re-used and recycled about everything that they could. There was no looking at it from a frontier ethics standpoint when it came to timber supply because it wasn't an option to move elsewhere. Thus is why they made any resource last as long as it could and they did a lot of planting as well. Energy was preserved a lot because they used oil lanterns as much as they could. Whereas, two of the frontier ethics mindset is that the earth is an unlimited bank of resources and if the supply runs out there's always more elsewhere. The mindset where I grew up was geared more towards sustainable ethics mainly because they had to make......

Words: 455 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Aep9 – Assignment Two

...AEP9 – ASSIGNMENT TWO: ESSAY Immoderate expansion of urban area, known as ‘urban sprawl’, becomes a wide-spreading phenomenon in most countries nowadays. This is majorly due to the improvement of mobility at all levels and the great economic benefits lying behind the sprawled urban areas. However, urban sprawl not only degrades the environment and changes global climate, but also generates a number of social problems, such as polarization and inequality. To solve the problems resulting from urban sprawl, many international organizations put technology forward as the most efficient and economically feasible approach. This essay will outline how urban sprawl results in these problems and point out the risks of depending on technologies to address environmental issues as well as its limitation to solve the social ones. In many countries in the world, urban sprawl imposes great stress on both of ecological and social well-being. In the first place, urban sprawl causes a lot of environmental problems. One of the burning issues for the international community is global warming. In order to support the running of current transportation, the utilities to warm or cool spacious houses and household appliances in neighborhoods on the outskirts of cities, energy mainly created by fossil fuels becomes greatly demanded, thus giving rise to higher emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, which is considered as one of the arch-criminals causing global warming (Gonzalez,......

Words: 994 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Innovation and Sustainability

...removed and the way products are produced, dispersed, used and disposed of. Action is needed at all levels of society from individuals and industry through to central and local administration in order to reverse past and current trends and live within biological limits. Thus in this thesis, I will discuss two material resources of consumptions and productions that humans are constantly producing and consuming and how we can potentially decrease them. The first consumption called deforestation often leads to a production such as farming. The second consumption to be discussed is urban sprawl, which leads to the production of water pollution. However, let us first define deforestation and urban sprawl. “Deforestation commonly defined as the elimination of trees and other plants from forest areas more quickly than they can be replanted or rejuvenated naturally. Urban sprawl is the spreading of urban and suburban areas into undeveloped lands. “(Turk, 2011) Marcus Colchester states that, "Deforestation, in other words, is an expression of social injustice.” The consumption of deforestation happens for many reasons and is quite intricate. They also vary from region to region. Our text states, “Tropical forest make up less than 10% of the earths land surface, yet these ecosystems are home to roughly half of the planets biodiversity.” (Turk, 2011) This in turn provides and maintains life, as we know it. People agree with the fact that deforestation causes extinction rates to......

Words: 1007 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Suburban Sprawl

...The urban sprawl: History, governing characteristics and solutions of the suburban sprawl Student’s Name Name of University The suburban sprawl: History, governing characteristics and solutions of the suburban sprawl History of the suburbs A suburb is an area on the periphery of a city or a town with a large number of people living on it, usually consisting of single family houses. These settlements have grown to the point of being self sufficient; they have their own malls, hospitals, banks and other amenities that traditionally only found in the city. Suburbs emerged in the 1800’s because of the sharp rise of the urban population and the improvement of the transport infrastructure at the time. It was during this time in history that the sprawl occurred. Cities exploded outward. Contractors started building streets and streets of brick walled houses. An example of this is the construction of suburbs in London where for a long time. One of the earliest examples of suburbs in the United States is the brilliant Llewellyn Park in New Jersey finished in 1853. The rise in suburb settlements intensified in the post World War II period because of the need to house the war veterans and the good economic conditions at the time. Higher population densities per square mile started being witnessed with the east side of Manhattan peaking at 400,000 people per square mile. The governing characteristics arising from the urban sprawl The is a sprawl affects the efficiency with......

Words: 555 - Pages: 3