The problem of suburban sprawl

A new coalition for urban place

Who benefits the most from synergistic growth, where the parts of the built environment are brought together to create a strong community and sense of place? Part 2 in a 3-part series.

Is sprawl returning? Sure, to a degree

Developers operating on greenfield sites, at scale, mostly build drive-only sprawl. That won't change until more suburban towns reform their planning and zoning policies.

The real problem with suburban roads

Authorities have done nothing to stop haphazard sprawl and commit to a more orderly pattern of compact growth in Loudoun County, Virginia, which tripled in population from 1990 to 2010.

Walkability and the American Dream

Upward mobility is strongly correlated with compact, walkable communities — largely in cities but also in suburbs.

Intergenerational mobility vs. sprawl: Is there a connection?

To look more closely at the connection between mobility and sprawl, we compared the mobility rates to neighborhood Walk Scores. Our results lend support to Paul Krugman’s hypothesis.

The End of the Suburbs

If you're looking for one book that explains the transformation taking place in our cities, towns and neighborhoods it is Leigh Gallagher's new book The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving.

The new American Dream

Talk of the built environment, sprawl, and the suburbs was prominent in the media in the last week. As economist and The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued that spread-out metro areas decrease opportunities for economic mobility, a new book was released by Fortune editor Leigh Gallagher called The End of the Suburbs. The title is provocative and a huge overstatement — the suburbs aren't ending, but as Gallagher argued on talk shows and in articles: Suburbs are changing, and so is the American Dream. For a lot of people in previous generations, the dream was a house on a big lot in the suburbs. Now, for younger generations and for many Americans, the dream is a connected, walkable community — the kind you find in a more compact city or town. "The housing crisis of recent years has concealed something deeper and more profound happening to what we have come to know as American suburbia," she says. "Simply speaking, more and more Americans don’t want to live there anymore." The first-generation suburbs offered many advantages: tree-lined streets, soccer leagues, a center-hall Colonial house. "Today’s suburb is more likely to evoke endless sprawl, a punishing commute, and McMansions," she writes. The good news for suburbs is that they can adapt and become less auto-dependent. As others have said: the problem is not suburbia, but sprawl.

Homicide charges dropped for Georgia woman, cause celebre for pedestian activists

Raquel Nelson pays a jaywalking fine, but the task of making pedestrian-hostile suburbs like Marietta walkable has just begun.

The geography of somewhere

In the new suburbs of America every place looks like every other place, or so it seems: Wide arterial roads, chain retail and scattered office buildings, subdivisions, and a regional shopping mall.

Where sprawl still rules

For several years now, many of us have been predicting — or even celebrating — the end of the era of unfettered sprawl. That seems to be mostly true, but not entirely.

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