Thursday, January 7, 2010

Suburban Sprawl and High Density

Mutually exclusive development patterns? Not so much anymore. Consider this: Greatly different in meaning, sprawl and density have both been words typically used in casual and formal public planning conversations to almost always describe undesirable characteristics. Similar also was the word growth; as in growth-inducing.

During the current recessionary economy, following the 110th United States Congress, these same words are more frequently being used in positive contexts. A quick example: Redeveloping high density into some areas of suburban sprawl may provide much needed growth for many communities. Planners and others faced with this shift in jargon probably will contemplate formerly usual situations -- indeed, think differently.
The recession and housing collapse have halted four decades of double-digit growth for nearly half of the nation's biggest rapidly expanding suburbs ... Bedroom communities now must rethink their future and become 'a little less sprawly, a little more village-like with clustered development, denser housing ... if they want to keep growing ... which is diametrically opposite of how they got so big in the first place' ...".
Source: USA Today