Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Where is the Most and Least Urban Sprawl in the USA?

Measuring Sprawl 2014(51 page pdf, Smart Growth America, April 2014)

Also discussed here: Updated Urban Sprawl Data for the United States (National Cancer Institute, Geographic Information Systems and Science for cancer prevention and control)

Today we review a report on the extent that sprawl exists and the rate that it is increasing or decreasing in over 200 cities and almost 1000 counties in the USA, using a quantitative sprawl index. Results indicate that the most compact, least sprawled cities are New York City (203) and San Francisco (194). In contrast, the most sprawl is found in Atlanta (41) and Morganton NC (25). Analysis of the social and health impacts of sprawl reveal that a doubling of the index equates to 3 more years of life and an increase of only 10 points is linked to lower housing and transportation costs by 3-4%, improved air quality and 15% less fatal vehicle crashes.

 sprawled cities  

Key Quotes:

“In peer-reviewed research, sprawl has been linked to physical inactivity, obesity, traffic fatalities, poor air quality, residential energy use, emergency response times, teenage driving, lack of social capital and private-vehicle commute distances and times.”

“Individuals in compact, connected metro areas have greater economic mobility. Individuals in these areas spend less on the combined cost of housing and transportation, and have greater options for the type of transportation to take. In addition, individuals in compact, connected metro areas tend to live longer, safer, healthier lives than their peers in metro areas with sprawl. Obesity is less prevalent in compact counties, and fatal car crashes are less common”

“Most compact, connected metro areas Rank Metro area Index score
  1. New York/White Plains/Wayne, NY-NJ 203.4
  2. San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City, CA 194.3
  3. Atlantic City/Hammonton, NJ 150.4
  4. Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/Goleta, CA 146.6
  5. Champaign/Urbana, IL 145.2
  6. .
. . Most sprawling metro areas, nationally Rank Metro area Index score
  • 217 Nashville-Davidson/Murfreesboro/Franklin, TN 51.7
  • 218 Prescott, AZ 49.0
  • 219 Clarksville, TN-KY 41.5
  • 220 Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Marietta, GA 41.0
  • 221 Hickory/Lenoir/Morganton, NC 24.9”
“Compactness has a strong direct relationship to upward economic mobility.”

“The combined cost of housing and transportation declines as an index score increases.”

“people in compact, connected counties tend to live longer. For every doubling in an index score, life expectancy increases by about four percent. For the average American with a life expectancy of 78 years, this translates into a three-year difference in life expectancy between people in a less compact versus a more compact county.”
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