Spin on Sprawl


STUDENTS: Module 3: Topics and Issues in Environmental Science

Non-Native icon. Spin on Sprawl Sprawl may be defined as low-density development beyond key city centers of employment and service. It separates the areas of work from living areas; and in some cases separates shopping centers, schools, and recreation areas from one another. This distance causes people to travel more to accomplish the same tasks (working, going to school, attending church, playing sports) as in years past, but increases travel time, gasoline, air pollution and traffic congestion.



The result on our lives is simple: STRESS. The result on the surrounding environment is even worse, as animals and plants lose habitat so that people may extend their footprint into new areas to live, work, and play. One of the problems of sprawl is run-off from streets and farms which carries pollutants into waterways, degrading water quality and habitats.

Filling in and paving over wetlands causes a drastic increase in flooding because land can no longer absorb excess water.

 

Photo: Suburban sprawl...row upon row of single family houses...Here is a list of ten traits most commonly associated with sprawl:
  1. Unlimited outward extension
  2. Low-density residential and commercial settlements
  3. Leapfrog development
  4. Fragmentation of powers over land use among many small localities
  5. Dependence on transportation by private automobiles
  6. No centralized planning or control of land use
  7. Widespread strip commercial development
  8. Great fiscal disparities among localities
  9. Segregation of land types by use in different zones
  10. Reliance mainly on the trickle-down or filtering process to provide housing to low-income households.
Photo: Water is not absorbed by hard surfaces.Some of the consequences of Suburban Sprawl are:
  1. Air and water pollution
  2. Traffic congestion, resulting in increased commute times
  3. Loss of farmland, fields, forests, and wetlands
  4. Increased flooding
  5. Increased taxes to pay for new schools, new sewage systems, new police and fire departments, etc.
  6. Loss of downtown commerce

 

Print to complete:

P S C M C O N G E S T I O N M
Y D I K Q O E G A N I A R D W
E Z F T Y G M J E C T F X V N
V M F L J P M M E Y N F T E Q
O F A H O L P S U O E O L N S
S D R L K O O E H T M N A E V
Q Q T R L S D C P W E U H R G
D R T E R S I I Y V V R P G L
Q F V A O B L V N U A Y S Y I
D E N I T S I R P G P B A D X
D J Y N U I W E T L A N D R D
U R K A H E B S H W Q U B A P
T P G V I M P A C T S Z N I Z
D S N T I U K F H G B K H N B

asphalt
commuters
congestion
development
drainage
energy drain
flooding
habitat
impacts
loss
malls
pavement
pristine
run-off
services
taxes
traffic
wetland

 

 

Click here for answer guide.

Photo: Filming public transportation in Portland.

Photo: Portland interwiews

Photo:

Further InvestigationsPhoto: Common areas help cut down the effects of sprawl.
Use the Internet to research building codes in various parts of the country. How are these codes adapted to the climate of that particular area?How do they compare to codes in your area?

Investigate efforts by local planning agencies, environmental action groups, and others interested in beautifying and preserving communties around you.
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