Urban or Suburban sprawl refers to the expansion of communities away from cities into previously undeveloped areas resulting in a community highly dependent upon automobiles of travel. Urban sprawl has been expanding for many decades now and really took of in the 1970’s. Common factors of urban sprawl communities include: dependence on automobiles, non-pedestrian friendly streets, large commercial zones and single family housing.
While many Americans are used to this type of planning there are many negatives about Urban sprawl. Air pollution is one of the leading consequences of urban sprawl because so many people drive in these types of communities which is polluting the ozone.
An excerpt from the book “The Post Carbon Reader” stated:
The average American spends the equivalent of eight 55-hour work weeks behind the steering wheel of a car annually, according to the Sierra Club. More driving leads to more air pollution, which can contribute to poor health and smog problems.
Another negative effect of urban sprawl is the loss of wildlife habitat and green space. Urban sprawl uses many different arterial streets connected to collector streets and cul-de-sacs to make up a community. What this does is provide a lot of pavement and takes up much of the green area with roads and development. This causes many of the native species of that area to relocate or die. The Department of Environmental Protection works on ways to mend this problem and many experts believe slowing development or adding green space to new construction is the only way to help save the animals in question.
The final negative effect that urban sprawl causes that I would like to point out is racial and economic disparity. When people move out of a city into a suburban community they are leaving behind the low income families and causes economic disparity between a location. This will create funding problems for the cities and can lead to lower funding for education and healthcare. The stratification of these communities causes an unbalance and creates dangerous cities and living conditions for the people still left in the city.
Suburbia as we know it today worked great for the past seventy of so years but now with a growing population and new cultural values a new way of development is needed. Suburban sprawl is seen all over America and has a many negative effects that people are living with today. Some of these effects include air pollution, loss of green habitat and economic disparity. As more people learn about the effects urban sprawl causes on a community I hope that people start to realize something needs to be done soon before we are really at a loss for help.