What is Sprawl?

Sprawl is dispersed, automobile-dependent development outside of compact urban and village centers. It is development along highways and in rural countryside. It is the opposite of sustainable living.

Sprawl is characterized by...

Excessive land consumption

New development is low density, especially compared to town, village or urban centers

Farms, natural areas, and the rural landscape are fragmented with wide gaps between development

Most houses are similar in price and type (all condos or all single family homes of the same size, for example)

Residential areas are separate from stores and other businesses

Community centers are dying or non-existant and few public places exist

Repetitive one story development, such as fast food chains and big box stores

Stores and other commercial buildings are surrounded by vast paved areas for parking

The automobile is the only means of transportation

Ways to combat sprawl:

When development occurs, insist that if follow historic settlement patterns, such as compact urban centers or villages separated by rural areas

Encourage new development to mix residential and commercial in "urban centers" or "villages" that are appropriate for pedestrians

When development occurs, require the protection and preservation of water quality, historic sites, natural areas, air quality, and the scenic views.

Support locally owned businesses.

Support working farms

Support forestry that does not clear-cut land and that keeps the land in forestry uses.

Support diversification of housing types - homes for people of differing ages, differing incomes, and differing needs.

Discourage growth or development that will overwhelm the public services available in your area (roads, water supply, waste water treatment facility, etc)

Make it possible to travel by methods other than the automobile, such as by foot, bike, train, bus, etc.

Ensure that public places exist, such as parks, playgrounds, town greens, hiking trails, forested areas, and access points to bodies of water.