What is Urban Sprawl?
Urban sprawl, also known as “horizontal spreading” or “dispersed urbanization”, is the disproportionate and uncontrolled expansion of an urban area into the adjacent countryside, resulting in low-density, poorly planned patterns of development.
Where does Urban Sprawl Occur?
It is observed both in high-income and low-income countries and is often characterized by a scattered population that lives in separate residential areas, with long blocks of houses and poor accessibility. The population is over-dependent on motorized transport, and the place lacks well-defined hubs of commercial activity.
When did Urban Sprawl Start?
The concept of urban sprawl had become evident in major national newspapers since the early 1950s.
How does Urban Sprawl Affect the Environment?
Urban sprawl has many negative consequences for the environment like:
1. Higher water and air pollution
2. Increased traffic fatalities and jams
3. Loss of agricultural capacity
4. Increased car dependency
5. Higher taxes
6. Increased runoff into rivers and lakes
7. Increased flooding
8. Loss of natural habitats, wildlife, and open space
Is Urban Sprawl Good or Bad?
While urban sprawl can help with the local economic growth and provide more personal space, it can also contribute to significant environmental, social, and economic losses. The best way to develop is by following the concept of smart growth that focuses on balancing development and environmental protection. It is an eco-friendly way to progress, characterized by compact, often transit-oriented, land use with neighborhood schools, walkable or motorable streets, mixed-use development, and a wide range of housing choices.