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Old 01-10-2011, 08:33 PM
 
Location: a swanky suburb in my fancy pants
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There seems to be much confusion over the definition of the word sprawl. According to several sources found in Google the most consistant characteristic of sprawl is very low density (because of oversized building lots) that leapfrogs itself and leaves open spaces in between the developed ones so that a metro with sprawl will use/waste more land then it needs to. Using that definition a tightly packed city like Las Vegas or Phoenix (or Los Angeles) would have the least amount of sprawl. What do you think?
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Chicago =)
308 posts, read 453,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryson662001 View Post
There seems to be much confusion over the definition of the word sprawl. According to several sources found in Google the most consistant characteristic of sprawl is very low density (because of oversized building lots) that leapfrogs itself and leaves open spaces in between the developed ones so that a metro with sprawl will use/waste more land then it needs to. Using that definition a tightly packed city like Las Vegas or Phoenix (or Los Angeles) would have the least amount of sprawl. What do you think?
I think I kinda know what your saying. But I can't make a decent response...
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,509 posts, read 28,692,047 times
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sprawl is one of the most often misused word in urban planing media.
Suburban is another.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Carrboro and Concord, NC
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I don't think there's any confusion actually.

It's just a term with multiple, complex definitions.

Phoenix, Houston, Dallas do sprawl in the broadest sense of the term - they go on and on and on.

There are smaller metros that fit a somewhat different definition: Oklahoma City springs to mind, Jacksonville FL would be another, where the city 'proper' encompasses a large area, and the city does have a sizable population, but land within that area is semi-rural, with pockets of heavier development that would be - in most states - separate towns.

As to your original question, if we are talking metros, they all do to some degree or another. Beyond city limits, even the Northeastern cities have a lot of it - DC, Baltimore, Philly, NYC, Boston, Detroit, Chicago. Elsewhere in the US, the cities themselves have lower densities, but outside the city limits it's usually a toss-up.

There are a few metros - Seattle/Tacoma, Honolulu, Miami/Ft Lauderdale/W Palm that have geographical limits that they are or soon will bump up against, so in those areas, it's fast getting to a point where higher density is going to be the only way of maintaining growth. In theory, the Southwestern cities have limits as well - deserts and lack of water, but some of them are extremely expansive, and should water availability ever become more of a serious issue (So much water is diverted from the Colorado River - which is not infinite - that it runs dry before it hits the Gulf of California, and surrounding states will not give up whatever water they have. Not for free anyway.) those cities are in deep trouble.

Last edited by davidals; 01-10-2011 at 09:04 PM.. Reason: grammar issues
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:04 PM
 
2,420 posts, read 4,062,704 times
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In order.

Atlanta
Pittsburgh
Boston
St. Louis
Tampa
Minneapolis
Cleveland
Seattle
Philadelphia
Dallas
Houston
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:11 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
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Miami not only has a lower than average sprawl, it's also hemmed in and will grow larger by becoming more dense in its existing developable footprint. In other words, Miami doesn't risk becoming less dense as it grows because it can't grow East and it can't grow West. It can pretty much only grow up and/or with infill.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:24 PM
 
639 posts, read 1,137,039 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killakoolaide View Post
In order.

Atlanta
Pittsburgh
Boston
St. Louis
Tampa
Minneapolis
Cleveland
Seattle
Philadelphia
Dallas
Houston
I think you misunderstood the question.
Atlanta and Houston both are some of the most sprawling cities in the US.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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The concept of sprawl can be misleading, because I've noticed a key difference between Northeast metros and the rest of the country. Since alot more people have been living in and around these cities for much longer these metros have way more cemetaries, and these more numerous cemetaries are alot larger, especially on the outskirts of the city and in the inner suburbs. For example, it's not uncommon in the Philly burbs to go past a cemetary so old that the gravestones have been weathered down to the point where they look like small rocks with some green stuff growing on it just poking out of the ground, obviously unreadable. The numerous cemetaries that dot the landscape might as well be considered perserved land(which they probably are), that coupled with all the historically perserved battlefields and what not make it obvious that the Northeast's suburban density numbers are skewed because of all that untouchable land.

Downtown Philly(Old city actually)
http://jamesmuspratt.com/images/150.jpg (broken link)
Photo Courtesy of www.jamesmuspratt.com

One of many in the suburban area I'm from.



Photo courtesy of www.hmdb.org


Valley Forge(right next to KoP)


Photos courtesy of wikipedia.com
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:59 PM
 
2,420 posts, read 4,062,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Observation View Post
I think you misunderstood the question.
Atlanta and Houston both are some of the most sprawling cities in the US.
I thought it said most.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:14 PM
 
Location: The Greatest city on Earth: City of Atlanta Proper
7,983 posts, read 12,423,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HtownLove View Post
sprawl is one of the most often misused word in urban planing media.
Suburban is another.
Most definitely. I pretty sure that 99.9% of the people on this site who go on and on about sprawl and density have no idea where the word comes from.

Here's a hint: Google William Gibson.

Here's another: It has nothing to do with low density.

Anyway, to answer the thread question. It is none of the top 20, that's for sure. Sprawl is an American way of life no matter how much the people from colder and older areas of the country look down their noses at other cities in other regions.
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