The Dangers of Urban Sprawl

Published: 2021-06-29 06:53:29
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Category: American History

Type of paper: Essay

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Often recognized for its popular association with the "American Dream", Urban Sprawl actually represents one of the greatest cumulative threats to the Earth's environment. Urban Sprawl is the growth and expansion of urban cities into more rural areas, which results in a more spread-out society, and less dense overall population, also known as Suburbia. Suburbs are the root cause of many of the greatest threats to the Earth's health, particularly with respect to farmland destruction, animal habitat stability, and pollution. In order to construct a suburb, a vast amount of land must be destroyed, which results in a significantly decreased amount of farmland, and also kills of habitats for many animals. As a result of the isolated nature of a suburb, residents are forced to endure long commutes, which adds unnecessarily to the already over-polluted atmosphere due to a lack of public transit and an over reliance on automobiles. Many experts have recognized Urban Sprawl as a legitimate and alarming threat, and have called for the attention of the public in order to start a movement to solve the issues caused by suburban lifestyle.
Obviously, the building of a suburb, or any building, requires the destruction of whatever stands in their way. Unfortunately, vast amounts of suburbs have rendered fertile farmland and prosperous habitat virtually nonexistent. According to the Clean Water Action Council (CWAC), across the USA, more than 13.7 million acres of farmland were converted for non-farm use, and the number of Wisconsin farms has dropped from 178,000 to 77,000 since 1910. The depletion of natural resources has left few ponds, rivers and other sources of water for both humans and animals to utilize, which has adversely affected the environment in that the few natural bodies of water that are left are now polluted due to their role as septic areas and wells for suburbs. Furthermore, Urban Sprawl has severely affected many inhabitants of forests, and in some severe cases has degraded the population of some animal species to less than one percent of what it was before Suburbanization (CWAC). Although the direct effects on the environment caused by Urban Renewal are enough to warrant change, the indirect effects that result from isolation prove to be even more harmful.
Peter Newman of Curtin University in Australia did the most notable analysis of the threat that Urban Sprawl poses to the environment in 1989. In his study, Newman concluded that more dense areas in the world, such as Asia, have lower car use than less dense areas (Petrol use for Urban Density). This correlates back to the idea of dependency on automobiles due to suburban communities having insufficient street layouts and inflated public transport costs, if there is any public transport at all. Long commutes and high volumes of traffic are the main causes of air pollution today, and have initiated many of the largest heat waves the nation has seen in

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