What's the matter with sprawl?

SPRAWL IS A HEALTH RISK. People who rely on cars to transport them to their spread-out destinations are more prone to high blood pressure and obesity than those who live in compact cities. Suburban white men weigh 10 pounds more than men in cities.
Vehicle exhaust is the primary source of cancer-causing pollutants in Southern California. Smog was responsible for 6 million asthma attacks and 160,000 emergency room visits in 1997.
Car accidents happen three times as often in suburbs as in cities. The vast majority of the victims of pedestrian accidents are children and the elderly.

SPRAWL HARMS THE ENVIRONMENT. The suburbs are notoriously wasteful in terms of energy, timber, food, roads, houses, and infrastructure; people who live in cities use half as much energy as suburbanites. (Manhattan may be the most efficient community in the U.S.; if it were a state, New York City would rank 51st in energy use per capita.) The Union of Concerned Scientists says that “transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States.”

SPRAWL DISCOURAGES COMMUNITY LIFE. On average, an American adult spends 72 minutes of each day driving; this is more time than we set aside for cooking, eating, or playing with our children.  An environment designed for cars disenfranchises those who do not drive, namely children, the elderly, and those who cannot afford to own a vehicle.  And in sprawling suburbia, often the only “public” spaces—such as malls—are privately owned. Our constitutional rights, like freedom of assembly, are not protected within a mall. 

SPRAWL SEGREGATES. By standardizing the square footage and other building specifications of all new houses and requiring that every dwelling accommodate only a single family, suburban zoning laws effectively segregate neighborhoods by income. Resources flow to wealthy communities, leaving poor suburbs and city neighborhoods underserved and worsening the effects of income and racial disparities.
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