Monday, April 2, 2012

Driven To Spend (Sprawling)

Mix of land uses, clustering and centeredness, compactness; all of these things are different indications and instances of sprawl. Sprawl drives up the cost of transportation for households because greater distances between destinations and lack of transportation sources. Sprawling is more of a problem in suburban areas where there are gated communities or neighborhoods that have been established in places where there is uncultivated land and nothing around for miles at a time which causes the homeowners there to have to travel long distances to get to what they need and where they need to be. This causes households to have to own and operate more than one automobile. In more metropolitan areas the sprawl is not that expensive because there are more choice of transportation, through buses, taxis, subway systems, walking, or biking. With transportation cost being so high, households are not benefiting or gaining any value in property from buying vehicles the way they would have if they bought a house instead which increases in property value overtime. More people need to pick home where they save money on driving and are in a good neighborhood that suits the needs of their families and their lifestyle. Transportation is expensive regardless of where you live, but a difference in the prices can vary. Having to transport yourself in your own vehicle cost much more than taking the bus, taxi, or subway. When you use public transportation, you pay the standard fare and get to where you need to go. With your own vehicle you have to pay for gas, tune-ups, repairs, up-keep, and maintenance. Those cost add up and increase the amount of money being spent on transportation. Sprawling does nothing to help low income families, it effects them the most and the hardest, they spend about 36% of their income on transportation after taxes.

"Pros and Cons of Urban Sprawl"


  1. Urban Sprawl is a significant issue, but how can it be dealt with? The local governments need to make an initial investment to improve cities, making them more attractive options for those who move to suburbia. A big part of this is putting in recreational areas that are safe and nearby for kids to play in. Sprawl is not an issue that can be handled by people alone; the government needs to step in, listen to the people's opinions, alongside urban planners, environmental policy professionals, sustainability experts, and other people alike.
    -Eric Mayo

  2. Having public transportation options more readily available to those living in the suburban areas you talk about would definitely make the issue of owning more than one automobile and cost of transportation less of a problem. The government and those living in these areas should create a voice behind this and begin making commutes and traveling more efficient and simple. It's often difficult for some families to consider giving up a home in a nice suburban neighborhood for an apartment in the city just so they can cut the cost of transportation, however, and they just simply do not want to sacrifice that no matter how much the cost difference is.

  3. I recently read a book called "Nickel and Dimed" on how it is fiscally impossible to make it in America making only minimum wage. The idea of sprawl being especially hard on the poor ties into what was discussed in the book. The author is trying to make it in Minneapolis while working at WalMart. Despite her greatest efforts, she could not find affordable housing even when she lowered her standards to the point where some of the apartments she was looking at were less than satisfactory. Because of the lack of affordable housing, she ended up having to live in motels, which ended up costing her more in the long run. Her experiment to see if she could make it failed because of the lack of affordable housing in Minneapolis. Another issue that she faced that is relevant to this blog post is the idea that people in poverty often have to make the choice between finding affordable, but far away, housing that requires a car or not needing a car, but having to live in a very expensive urban area. Either way, it is a Catch-22 that leaves the poor in serious trouble.

    -Amy Lewis

  4. I am from Houston, TX, which is a huge city. Most of the official City of Houston is suburban and the city is very sprawled out. You can drive for an hour, an hour and a half, in Houston and still be in Houston. One of the other things about Houston is that it really lacks public transportation. There is one bus that connects the suburbs and the city and one rail line that runs through part of downtown. I would love if Houston had a better public transportation system to connect the suburbs with the downtown area. It would really cut down on transportation costs. My mom has to drive 30 mi downtown to get to work and it really eats up gas to drive there and back.

    Laura Oganowski

  5. Transportation issues with the spread of urban sprawl are also strongly related to environment. Since more families have to own vehicles to travel, they will burn off more gas, thus causing urban pollution. Increasing pollution will further influence people to move out of the city. With more and more people leaving, the city will eventually become dead.
    -Hae Jin Kye-

  6. I agree with what Ashley said, and I would like to add that living 30 or 40 mins away for the city center will significantly reduce the coast of housing, while the coast of transportation will increase, hence we might achieve a balanced trade off depending of what car you drive and how far do you live form your workplace.

    -Obai Shaikh
    group 15

  7. Sprawling has been a major issue in the United States for years. Clearly, those who are more fortunate will not have an issue paying for personal transportation fees. But, having lived the city myself, I have learned how valuable and effective public transportation is. Local governments need to figure out ways to make public transportation more efficient or even create more roads that are walk/bike friendly. Pollution emitted from cars is benefiting the greenhouse effect and creating other dangerous gases harmful for humans.

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