Leader Board

Today, technology and social trends are reinforcing the spread of suburban areas and are driving people still farther out to exurbs, regions beyond the suburbs, generally inhabited by affluent individuals seeking even more space than the suburbs provide. In our age of the Internet, handheld devices, jet travel, and video-conferencing, being located in a city’s downtown on a river or seacoast is no longer so vital to success.

As globalization continues to connect distant societies, businesses and individuals can more easily communicate from far-flung locations. In most ways, suburbs and exurbs have delivered the qualities people have sought in them. The wide spacing of homes, with each one on its own plot of land, gives families room and privacy. However, by allotting more space to each person, suburban and exurban growth has spread human impact across the landscape. Natural areas have disappeared as housing developments are constructed. Our extensive road networks ease travel, but people find themselves needing to climb into a car to get anywhere.

People commute longer distances to work and spend more time stuck in traffic. The expanding rings of suburbs and exurbs surrounding cities have grown larger than the cities themselves, and towns are merging into one another. These aspects of growth inspired a new term sprawl. The term sprawl has become laden with meanings and suggests different things to different people, but we can begin our discussion by giving sprawl a simple, nonjudgmental definition: the spread of low-density urban, suburban, or exurban development outward from an urban center.

 

In our age of the Internet, handheld devices, jet travel, and video-conferencing, being located in a city’s downtown on a river or seacoast is no longer so vital to success. 

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