— America’s Urban Future | New York Times, 04/16/2014
— Parking Lots Demolished in Cities’ Revenue Bid as Driving Wanes | Business Week, 4/10/14
Housing is the Key to Family-Friendly Cities | Planetizen, 4/7/2014
— As a downtown dad, this is an issue near and dear to me, and it is explored well here by Bradley Calvert, an Atlanta architect. He nails the importance of building housing in the urban core that appeals to middle-income families, along with the need for better schools to serve them. And he looks at the market and social forces that form hurdles for achieving this goal.
A report released today from Smart Growth America calls Metro Atlanta the most sprawling large metro in the US. This confirms that, despite the strides in good urbanism happening all over the region in pockets, there’s a major uphill battle in the long run due to the sprawling development of the past.
Measuring Sprawl 2014 “evaluates development patterns in 221 major metropolitan areas and their counties based on four factors: density, land use mix, street connectivity and activity centering.”
The report lists the damage done to people living in sprawl:
- Sprawl harms economic mobility. In compact, connected areas, “a child born in the bottom 20% of the income scale has a better chance of rising to the top 20% of the income scale by age 30.”
- People in sprawling areas spend more on the combined expenses of housing and transportation and have fewer transportation options.
- Life expectancy is greater for people in compact, connected areas, where both fatal auto collision rates & average body mass index are lower and air quality is better.
And so the Atlanta region has its work cut out for it, being at a greater disadvantage than any other large metro in the US when it comes to inefficient, costly, damaging urban development patterns. It’s going to take good leadership on a region-wide level to make significant changes and retrofit the sprawl for a more sustainable urban environment that benefits us all.