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Traffic, urban growth and suburban sprawl

Batty, M; Besussi, E; Chin, N; (2003) Traffic, urban growth and suburban sprawl. (CASA Working Papers 70). Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL): London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Cities are still getting bigger in the western world. Even though urbanpopulations are barely reproducing themselves and migration from thecountryside to the town has slowed to a trickle, the demand for more livingspace shows no sign of abating as cities continue to expand their bordersthrough suburban sprawl. The automobile, of course, makes this possiblebut we show no signs of moving to other forms of transport that mightenable our cities to become a little more compact. The problems of sprawlare pervasive. Besides congestion, time wasted, and the long term costs ofusing non-renewable energy, the lack of good social infrastructure inrapidly growing suburban areas together with the erosion of agriculturalland, often of high environmental quality, has focused the debate onwhether or not such forms of development are sustainable. In this paper,we begin by noting that suburban sprawl is an age-old phenomenon whichrepresents a fine balance between the forces that are pushing peopletogether in cities and those that are forcing them out. These lead todifferent types of sprawl in different places and at different times butwhatever the variety, there are costs to be borne. We briefly review these,noting how these affect suburban sprawl in Europe, and the efforts of theEuropean Commission to understand the problem. We conclude not with aplea that cities should be compacted and all automobile traffic removedbut that we should engage in policies for ?smart growth? such as thosebeing adopted in North America.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Traffic, urban growth and suburban sprawl
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: Imported via OAI, 16:54:26 4th May 2005
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Planning
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/216
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