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Urban Sprawl. POSC 140 Intro to California Gov’t and Politics Braunwarth. Urban Sprawl. What is it? Low density urbanization spreading into undeveloped areas New housing tracts Decentralizing urban centers Dependence on automobiles Abandonment of older communities. Problems.

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urban sprawl

Urban Sprawl

POSC 140

Intro to California Gov’t and Politics


urban sprawl2
Urban Sprawl
  • What is it?
  • Low density urbanization spreading into undeveloped areas
  • New housing tracts
  • Decentralizing urban centers
  • Dependence on automobiles
  • Abandonment of older communities
  • Why continue to expand the suburbs?
  • Easier to build new infrastructure
  • But, short term gain has long term costs
  • Like what?
  • Loss of environment
  • Road Congestion
  • Air Pollution
  • Degradation of Inner City and older suburbs
population growth
Population Growth
  • Urban Sprawl is fueled by population Growth:
  • CA now 32 million (doubled since 1960)
  • Added 6 million in 1980s
  • Plus 1/2 million/year in 1990s
  • San Diego County is now ~2,950,000 but is expected to reach 3,850,000 by 2010
  • So Cal will go from 19 to almost 25 million (2 Chicagos in 20 years)
growth options
Growth Options
  • Pro-Growth:
  • Rural and poor areas
  • Want more infrastructure, more jobs, more people
  • No-Growth:
  • Upper-Income areas
  • Concerned about environment, traffic, and NIMBY
smart growth
Smart Growth
  • Compromise: economic activity should occur in urban areas and preserve open spaces
  • Must reverse trend of restricting urban growth and promoting development in less regulated periphery
  • Higher Density housing/mixed use
  • Revitalize older communities as more desirable places to live
san diego solution
San Diego Solution
  • San Diego history revolves around ranching, agriculture, and rural life
  • Threatened by haphazard urban growth
  • Don’t want to end up like LA or OC
  • San Diego will grow, question is how
  • Solution: Create urban/rural boundary
  • Force urban areas to revitalize instead of poorly planned inland development
sofar plan
SOFAR plan
  • In SD County General Plan
  • outside boundary 40 and 80 acre minimum parcels
  • Protect watershed, agriculture, wildlife, scenery, tourism
  • Watershed is key: plants and open ground clean and filter water as opposed to runoff from asphalt, parking lots, and streets
endangered species act
Endangered Species Act
  • Purpose: Conserve ecosystems of endangered species and
  • Prohibit “take” of species, including harm to habitat that impairs the species
  • Over 200 listed plant and animal species in San Diego
  • gnatcatcher, tortoise, kangaroo rat, etc.
  • One of 25 most diverse habitat areas in the world (desert, mtns, climate, etc.)
u s fish and wildlife service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • If want to develop land must file an Environment Impact Report (CA Environmental Quality Act)
  • If incidentally “takes” habitat of listed species, must get a permit from the fish and wildlife service
  • Must specify impacts, how to mitigate impacts, and alternatives so won’t reduce the species
single species approach
Single-Species Approach
  • Coastal CA Gnatcatcher
  • lives in coastal sage scrub
  • essentially put a brake on all development in CA
  • Single-Species approach wasn’t working
  • Needed to protect wildlife while preserving growth
  • Need a more ecosystem-based approach
multi species approach
Multi-Species Approach
  • Habitat Islands in an Urban Sea
  • The greater the area preserved, the greater the number of species possible
  • So, need to preserve big areas
  • San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP)
  • Allows for regional conservation
san diego mscp
San Diego MSCP
  • Voluntary Cooperation of many local governments in exchange for
  • Planning Certainty for future development (not species by species)
  • What about private property rights?
  • Are not unlimited: i.e. Zoning
  • short step from housing set backs and small signs to protecting open spaces
other ca growth issues
Other CA Growth Issues
  • Electricity Crisis: Suspended some regulations to speed plant construction
    • Outraged environmental groups and NIMBY homeowners
  • Zero Emission Vehicles
  • “Brownfields” and need for Urban School property
  • Storm Water Regulations