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The New Urban Century: Dealing With Sprawl in the Future City

The New Urban Century: Dealing With Sprawl in the Future City

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Published by Jonathan D. Hammond
A brief essay on the global relevance of sustainable development.
A brief essay on the global relevance of sustainable development.

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Jonathan D. Hammond on Feb 26, 2014
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The New Urban Century: Dealing With Sprawl In The Future City
One of the first hurdles to making the city sustainable in the developed world is sprawl. This is often considered a gestalt – one of those ineffable, know-it-when-you-see-it phenomena. But in fact, sprawl can be almost embarrassingly easy to classify: it is characteried not by its density or lack thereof, but by its configuration. !prawl consists mainly of five "easy# pieces: suburban housing $perhaps apartments, but usually single-family homes%& shopping malls and other retail areas& civic institutions, such as schools&  business parks and other commercial office space& and most importantly, the parking, highways, roads and other automotive transportation infrastructure that connects all of these elements with one another. 'nd the automobile is essential& given its privilege in this environment, all spaces seem outsied, immense, and even hostile without it.(ven with the ostensible simplicity $or more accurately, the inertia% of design afforded by this program, sprawl seems highly dis)ointed and discontinuous. 'gain, this is by design: the strict separation of uses that characteries sprawl vis-*-vis more classical neighborhoods is built into a rigid (uclidian oning code which mandates such. Beyond this, even ad)acent uses refuse to connect, instead putting forward intimidating barriers to  pedestrian entry and cross-traffic. $+n fact, given the piecemeal private nature of sprawl development, even ad)acent neighborhoods with similar land uses refuse otherwise natural street connections, terminating the road in two culs-de-sac divided by a berm.% eedless to say, this order of development is highly alienating to pedestrians. But it even alienates its own residents: much of the open space sprawl was designed for is off-limits, unusable $psychologically or otherwise% to the people that own it, live around it or are otherwise epected to use it. 's a result of this, private developments are designed to  be self-contained, as it is obvious that very little of value eists outside the office, home or shopping mall. owever, in many cases, they are decidedly not.!ome of this was unintentional. owever, much of this was eists as a result of law, philosophy, and policy, both public and private. These policies of the /nited !tates and many of its largest corporations from the 0123s forward were intended to dismantle the "slum# conditions then perceived to eist in the city and replace them with an urban domain whose basis was the automobile. This was in its time seen as a utopian vision: the 0121 "4uturama# 5orld6s 4air pavilion was massively popular in its depiction of what

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