Smart Growth America - Measuring Sprawl 2014 Report

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Transcript of Smart Growth America - Measuring Sprawl 2014 Report

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    Acknowledgments Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring smart growth practices to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods. Learn more at www.smartgrowthamerica.org. This report is based on original research published by the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah, prepared for the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Ford Foundation. The Metropolitan Research Center conducts basic and applied research on the built environment at the metropolitan scale, focusing on key forces shaping metropolitan form such as demographics, environment, technology, design, transportation, arts and culture and governance. It seeks to expand knowledge in city and metropolitan affairs to improve policy and practice and educate the general public on important issues facing communities. Learn more at www.arch.utah.edu/cgi-bin/wordpress-metroresearch/. This report was made possible with support from the National Institutes of Health and the Ford Foundation. Researchers Reid Ewing, Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning, University of Utah Shima Hamidi, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Utah Project team Sarah Absetz, Policy Associate, Smart Growth America Geoff Anderson, President and CEO, Smart Growth America David Berrigan, Applied Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute Craig Chester, Press Manager, Smart Growth America Alex Dodds, Deputy Director of Communications, Smart Growth America Ilana Preuss, Vice President and Chief of Staff, Smart Growth America Zaria Tatalovich, Health Statistician and Geospatial Scientist, National Cancer Institute Special thanks to David Goldberg, Transportation for America; Chris Zimmerman, Smart Growth America; Gail Meakins, Martin Buchert, and Allison Spain, Metropolitan Research Center; Professor William Greene, New York University; and James B. Grace, U.S. Geological Survey.

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    Table of Contents

    Executive Summary................................................................................................................... iv Introduction................................................................................................................................. 1

    About the research..................................................................................................................... 1 Measuring sprawl .................................................................................................................... 2

    The four factors .......................................................................................................................... 2 Scoring ...................................................................................................................................... 2

    The 2014 Sprawl Index rankings ............................................................................................... 4 Most compact, connected metro areas...................................................................................... 4 Most sprawling metro areas ....................................................................................................... 6

    What sprawl means for everyday life........................................................................................ 9 Seeking better quality of life .................................................................................................... 12

    Santa Barbara, CA ................................................................................................................... 12 Madison, WI ............................................................................................................................. 13 Trenton, NJ .............................................................................................................................. 13 Los Angeles, CA ...................................................................................................................... 14

    Conclusion................................................................................................................................. 15 Appendix A: Full 2014 metro area Sprawl Index rankings .................................................... 16 Appendix B: County-level information.................................................................................... 20

    County-level findings ................................................................................................................ 20 Appendix C: Quality of life analysis......................................................................................... 43 Endnotes.................................................................................................................................... 45

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    Executive Summary Some places in the United States are sprawling out and some places are building in compact, connected ways. The difference between these two strategies affects the lives of millions of Americans. In 2002, Smart Growth America released Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact, a landmark study that has been widely used by researchers to examine the costs and benefits of sprawling development. In peer-reviewed research, sprawl has been linked to physical inactivity, obesity, traffic fatalities, poor air quality, residential energy use, emergency response times, teenage driving, lack of social capital and private-vehicle commute distances and times. Measuring Sprawl 2014 updates that research and analyzes development patterns in 221 metropolitan areas and 994 counties in the United States as of 2010, looking to see which communities are more compact and connected and which are more sprawling. Researchers used four primary factorsresidential and employment density; neighborhood mix of homes, jobs and services; strength of activity centers and downtowns; and accessibility of the street networkto evaluate development in these areas and assign a Sprawl Index score to each. This report includes a list of the most compact and most sprawling metro areas in the country. This report also examines how Sprawl Index scores relate to life in that community. The researchers found that several quality of life factors improve as index scores rise. Individuals in compact, connected metro areas have greater economic mobility. Individuals in these areas spend less on the combined cost of housing and transportation, and have greater options for the type of transportation to take. In addition, individuals in compact, connected metro areas tend to live longer, safer, healthier lives than their peers in metro areas with sprawl. Obesity is less prevalent in compact counties, and fatal car crashes are less common. Finally, this report includes specific examples of how communities are building to be more connected and walkable, and how policymakers at all levels of government can support their efforts.

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    Introduction As regions grow and develop, residents and their elected leaders have many decisions to make. What kind of street network should they build, and how extensive should it be? Should neighborhoods have a mix of homes, shops and offices, or should different types of buildings be kept separate? Will people be able to walk, ride a bicycle or take public transportation through the community, or will driving be the only realistic way for people to get around? Everyone experiences the outcomes associated with these development decisions. How much families pay for housing and transportation, how long workers spend commuting home, the economic opportunities in communities and even personal health are all connected to how neighborhoods and surrounding areas are built. Measuring Sprawl 2014 analyzes development in 221 metropolitan areas across the United States, as well as the relationship between development and quality of life indicators in those areas. This report includes a list of the most compact and most sprawling metro areas in the country. About the research In 2002, Smart Growth America released Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact, a landmark study that has been widely used by researchers to examine the costs and benefits of sprawling development. That report was made available to researchers and has been used in peer-reviewed research in the years since. From that original analysis, sprawl has been linked to physical inactivity, obesity, traffic fatalities, poor air quality, residential energy use, emergency response times, teenage driving, lack of social capital, and commute distances and times. Measuring Sprawl 2014 is an update and refinement of that research. This report is based on research originally published in the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah in April 2014. The University of Utahs report, titled Measuring Urban Sprawl and Validating Sprawl Measures, represents the most comprehensive effort yet undertaken to define, measure and evaluate metropolitan sprawl and its impacts. The first peer-reviewed article based on this research was published in October 2013 in the journal Health & Place. The data from 2010 used in this analysis are the most recent available. The complete analysis, methodology and databases included in the University of Utahs research are available at http://gis.cancer.gov/tools/urban-sprawl/.

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    Measuring sprawl This study analyzed development in 193 census-defined Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)or metro areasas well as 28 census-defin