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Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Sierra Club & Sprawl

The Sierra Club has a web page devoted to stopping sprawl:
"Poorly planned development threatens our environment, our health, and our quality of life in numerous ways.

Sprawl spreads development out over large amounts of land; puts long distances between homes, stores, and job centers; and makes people more and more dependent on driving in their daily lives.

Sprawl pollutes our air and water. As reliance on cars and pavement of more and more roads increases, so does smog and pollution from water runoff. Today, more than half all Americans live in areas where the air is unsafe to breathe. Sprawl destroys more than two million acres of parks, farms and open space each year.

Sprawl increases traffic on our neighborhood streets and highways. Sprawl lengthens trips and forces us to drive everywhere. The average American driver currently spends the equivalent of 55 eight-hour workdays behind the wheel every year.

Sprawl wastes tax money. It pulls economic resources away from existing communities and spreads them out over sparse developments far away from the core. Taxes subsidize millions of dollars worth of new roads, new water and sewer lines, new schools and increased police and fire protection at the expense of the needs of the core communities. This leads to degradation of our older towns and cities and higher taxes."
I think there are at least a couple of things to note in this quotation.

No clear definition of sprawl is emphasized. Perhaps the Sierra Club defines sprawl simply as "poorly planned development."

Note also the choice of language. It seems as though sprawl has human abilities and characteristics: sprawl threatens, sprawl spreads (perhaps sprawl is viral), sprawl makes people more and more dependent, sprawl wastes money.

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