Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Causes of Sprawl"

This is a commentary on an article written by Marcy Burchfield, Henry Overman, Diego Puga, and Matthew Turner entitled, “CAUSES OF SPRAWL: A PORTRAIT FROM SPACE. Within this article, one interesting piece of information comes from a poll result taken by the Pew Center. The poll stated that within the sample, people were almost equally divided on how to stop sprawl. Half wanted government involvement while the other half did not.

There is not much known about the “scattering patterns” of sprawl. So dealing with this type of problem can be hard to find a resolution to. One step to “fight back” sprawl is to determine what causes sprawl, but can be a problem in itself. The authors of this article suggest that cities will sprawl more if there is uncertainty about population growth, the type of terrain, and if the road system was built around a single rather than public transit system.

The data collected for this article suggests that from 1972-1992, there has been a constant growth pattern of sprawl in specific areas. Now the question becomes what should we do to limit this phenomenon? Involve Government (force) or look into other options of city planning such as letting the private sector (market forces) dictate the growth of cities? I’m a proponent for the non-governmental approach to solving sprawl; however zoning may be a problem. Meaning you may have a Wendy’s behind your house.

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