Urbanization and Sustainable Growth. I. Urbanization. Urbanization = the movement of people from rural to urban areas In 1950, 30% of the world’s population was urban, today it’s 49%. In the U.S., 79% of the population lives in urban areas. . I. Urbanization.
C. Urban areas grow in two ways –
D. The size of today’s urban centers are unprecedented
E. Today, 18 cities are home to more than 10 million residents (called mega-cities), 15 of them are in developing countries.
F. Hypercities, with more than 20 million people, are the next step
G. Based on this data, Four major trends are apparent with current urban population dynamics:
2. Federal government loan guarantees for new single-family homes for WWII vets stimulated the development of the suburbs in the 1950s.
3. Low cost gas and federal and state funding of highways encouraged auto use and the development of outlying tracts of land.
4. Tax laws encourage home ownership
5. Most zoning laws favored large residential lots and separation of residential and commercial areas.
6. Most urban areas consist of multiple political jurisdictions which rarely work together to develop an overall plan to manage commercial growth.
C. Basically sprawl is the result of affordable land, autos, cheap gas, and poor urban planning.
D. Formal Definition of sprawl:
1) the spread of low-density urban or suburban development outward from an urban center
Each person in a suburban region takes up an average of 11 times as much space as does a resident of the city proper
E. Issues associated with sprawl:
1) Transportation: people are forced to drive cars
Pressure to own cars and drive greater distances
Increases dependence on nonrenewable petroleum
Lack of mass transit options
More traffic accidents
2) Pollution from sprawl’s effects on transportation
Carbon dioxide, nitrogen- and sulfur-containing air pollutants
Motor oil and road salt from roads and parking lots
3) Health: promotes physical inactivity because driving cars replaces walking
4) Land use: less land is left as forests, fields, farmland, or ranchland
5) Economics: drains tax dollars from communities
A. City planning = the professional pursuit that attempts to design cities so as to maximize their efficiency, functionality, and beauty
Planners advise policymakers on development options, transportation needs, public parks, etc.
B. Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago = the first thorough plan for an American city
1. Expanded city parks, playgrounds
2. Streamlined traffic systems
3. Removed industry and railroads from Lake Michigan
D. City planning grew throughout 20th century
Expanding urban populations
Decay of inner cities
Wealthier residents fled to suburbs
E. Regional planning = deals with same issues as city planning, but with broader geographic scales that must coordinate with multiple municipal governments
F. Zoning= the practice of classifying areas for different types of development and land use
Can restrict areas to a single use or can allow a combination of residential and commercial use
G. Opponents say that zoning’s government restriction violates individual freedoms
H. Proponents say government can set limits for the good of the community
1. Limits sprawl: keeps growth in existing urbanized areas
Protect farms, forests, and their industries
Ensure urban dwellers some access to open space
2. May reduce infrastructure costs
Increases housing prices within their boundaries (aka less supply)
Restricts development outside UGB
Increases the density of new housing inside the UGB
Increasing pressure to expand boundaries
J. Smart growth = urban growth boundaries and other land use policies to control growth
K. Proponents promote:
Healthy neighborhoods and communities
Jobs and economic development
L. Building “up, not out”
Focusing development in existing areas
Favoring multistory shop-houses and high-rises
1) New urbanism = neighborhoods are designed on a walkable scale
Homes, businesses, and schools are close together
2) Functional neighborhoods in which most of a family’s needs can be met without the use of a car
1. Mueller development in Austin – Mixed use, homes, retail, work places. Green design, green spaces, award winning.
1. Transit-oriented development = communities arrayed around stops on a major rail transit line
2. Zoning rules must cooperate with new urbanism
A. A key in improvement of quality of urban life
B. Options include:
Trains and subways
Light rail = smaller rail systems powered by electricity
C. Mass transit is cheaper, more energy efficient, and cleaner and eases traffic congestion
Carry more than 25% of each city’s daily commuters
E. Most countries have bus systems more accessible than in the U.S.
F. Light rail systems are rapidly increasingTrain and bus systems
1. Expensive to replace existing roads
2. Types of mass transit differ in their effectiveness
H. Governments can encourage mass transit
A. City dwellers want to escape from noise, commotion, and stress of urban life
B. Natural lands, public parks, and open space provide greenery, scenic beauty, freedom, and recreation
C. Protecting natural lands becomes more important with increased urbanization
1. People wanted to make dirty, crowded cities more livable
2. Began in eastern cities
3. Lawns, groves, and curved pathways originated with European idealsCity parks
F. Frederick Law Olmsted – Founder of Landscape architecture. Designed many famous American Parks – Central Park, U.S. Capital grounds, Boston’s “Green Necklace” series of parks, Stanford University campus green spaces, Prospect Park in Brooklyn
H. Greenways= strips of land that connect parks or neighborhoods
I. Ecological restoration in cities