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Addressing Urban Sprawl

Addressing Urban Sprawl

Author: Jensen Morgan

Determine the effective measures to address urban sprawl.

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Source: Earth PD Central Park PD Dubai CC

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Hi! I'm Jensen Morgan. We're going to talk about some great concepts in environmental science. Today's topic is addressing urban sprawl. So let's get started.

Today we're talking about government efforts to mitigate urban sprawl problems, future opportunities to do so, as well as the barriers to addressing urban sprawl issues. There are two main areas governments are attempting to solve urban sprawl issues, and they can vary depending on whether it is state or local government. The two areas are regulations and market incentives.

First, we're going to talk about regulations. Regulation solutions include:

Designing zoning requirements to control what kind of land can be developed in what areas.

Levying impact fees and developers to fund projects for public good, particularly related to population growth.

Limiting the urban growth boundary so that cities are forced to increase population density instead of sprawl. Oregon has mandated this for all of its cities.

Information/education campaigns aimed at encouraging urban density rather than sprawl.

And designating certain areas as green zones to protect undeveloped land is a regulation strategy.

Market incentive strategies include:

Subsidies that support density and discourage sprawl can be quite effective, such as providing financial incentives for repurposing existing land instead of building on undeveloped property.

Tax breaks for activities or construction that supports population density is another market incentive. And finally, publicly funded mass transit can reduce the need for personal transport, thereby reducing the need for wider roads while encouraging higher population density and proximity to mass transit services.

Opportunities beginning to be taken advantage of, which if fostered can provide future solutions to urban sprawl, are:

Urban green spaces, which include parks open for sitting grassy areas, which are increasing nationally. Currently there are over 1 million acres of parks in the United States.

Efforts both public and private are being made to repurpose old plots that were polluted in prior use, also called brownfields, so that they and any old buildings on the plot can be used for something else. Cities across the country are trying to revitalize their city centers to encourage dense urban living through identity creation, mass transit, mixed land use, and zoning.

There are some real challenges to addressing urban sprawl, such as historical zoning laws, which prevent mixed use and urban density, which can be slow and difficult in changing. Providing adequate services such as parking, grocery stores, and emergency response within dense urban settings can also be challenging. In denser municipalities there are more stakeholders and groups to bring into alignment, which can cause conflict.

Private developers financed through banks can be adamant and difficult to dissuade from facilitating urban sprawl. Agencies providing development permits can be difficult to control and manage for density. And designing communities to provide comfortable housing within a reasonable distance to businesses can be difficult as well.

Now let's have a recap. We talked about government efforts to address and mitigate urban sprawl, future potentials to decrease urban sprawl, and barriers to creating change that would encourage urban density. Well, that's all for this tutorial. I look forward to seeing you next time. Bye.