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Urban Sprawl

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Despite past oil and energy shocks to the US economy urban sprawl has continued unabated. We have all seen open lands converted into sprawling sub divisions. The growth in population and the desire to achieve the American dream of owning a home have added to the sprawl. Strip malls, new highways, traffic lights, and demand on utilities and social services are symbiotically linked to sprawl.
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All of this degrades our climate, and our health. Public policy should have learned from the first oil shock. It should have worked to create large green bands to encircle our major cities. These bands would not have been compromised through development. Forcing those who want to live outside of pre-established housing to move further out. This would allow for the redevelopment of our cities and the creation of improving public transportation within our cities and to link the outlying towns to the vibrant city centers. European cities have followed this model. Containing their sprawl and keeping their cities vibrant. Their public transportation systems within their cities excel in moving people in and out. I came across a great book that highlights American Sprawl. It is called Over, and it is authored by Alex MacLean and Bill McKibben. The photography and accompanying text is quite moving.

John Vlahakis

By Alex MacLean and Bill McKibben
By Alex MacLean and Bill McKibben

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