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Sprawl Is...Good?

Damn, we don't know which way is up. Apparently there's a maverick branch of urban planning that argues suburban sprawl is more efficient, and...




Damn, we don't know which way is up. Apparently there's a maverick branch of urban planning that argues suburban sprawl is more efficient, and better for the planet, than dense urban places like (you guessed it!) Manhattan.

Robert Bruegmann, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been leading the charge, armed with a single, powerful statistic: L.A.'s urbanized area has a greater population density than New York's.

From Metropolis Magazine:
"The power of this factoid-counterintuitive as it sounds-should not be underestimated. If...Los Angeles's acres of low-rise bungalows house its population more efficiently than New York's forest of skyscrapers, then all that blather about reining in edge cities and building more compact, walkable suburban places should be relegated to the nearest big-box dumpster. It's like discovering that a steak and fries will improve your cholesterol."

A team from UCLA is arguing that looking at "urbanized area" is a bad way to compare population density, though.

However you interpret that statistic, there are still countless other factors that contribute to a city's efficiency. The cost of distributing utilities to far flung neighborhoods and the viability of public transportation are just two obvious examples.

We love Los Angeles, but it's telling that the team from UCLA are the ones saying "this city cannot be the better way."

Pic by Scott Buschkuhl














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