Urban Sprawl Urban Sprawl Introduction I. Each morning, millions of Americans start their engines and grind their way to work. They leave quiet settings for the hustle and bustle of the cities. When evening approaches, these same people make their way home. Home, however, is no longer just across town. Many of these people will commute miles and miles to their *country= homes.
II. They are not alone in their commute though – the entire rest of the subdivision is doing the exact same thing, day in and day out. They endure the traffic, lost time, and general inconvenience to be surrounded by farmland and open space and a hundred or so homes exactly identical to theirs. (Transition)Today I am going to discuss urban sprawl, its history, causes and effects. First lets discuss the history. III.
Urban sprawl has always been a problem in a sense; however not until the automobile was sprawl a serious issue. With the arrival of the automobile, people could live farther a way from work and not have to live in the city. Up until then mostly farmers and ranchers lived outside the city. So the issue became a bigger issue with faster and better cars. Many people were now able to live the American Dream, rural life. A house of their own, out of town enough to be quiet, but never too far from civilization. a.
But then something happens, the *open space= that they fell in love with is slowly devoured by housing, shopping malls, and believe it or not other people. b. The rolling fields that once marked their freedom are now browning and dotted with homes. This makes the *original= homeowner unhappy. They write editorials asking questions and demanding answers.
Both silently and aloud they fume: how dare the farmer sell out his heritage, the land is more valuable as farmland, right?, how dare the developer exploit the land (don=t they care about our earth?), how dare the politician allow this activity (aren=t we paying them to represent us?), and how dare the home buyer have the audacity to move there. So sure are they in their quest for justice that they never stop to consider one simple fact: they once were newcomers too. And before them, the land was open space or farmland. The developer *exploited= the land that they fell in love with, the politician *allowed= their home to be built, and they were *audacious= enough to inhabit it. IV.
So the circle begins. We as a country are facing an epidemic of unknown proportions: age – old expansionist attitudes. Urban sprawl has made a definite impact on environment, agriculture, and economy. (Transition) So what exactly is Urban Sprawl. Body I.
Henry R. Richmond who wrote From Sea to Shining Sea: gives us a good definition: AThe terms Aurban [email protected] and [email protected] are often used to describe the continuous out-migration of the American economic and population base from its central citiesYmajor cities are surrounded by seas of low density residential development highlighted byYAEdge [email protected] or Asuburban [email protected], where commercial, retail, office, and entertainment development has [email protected] This description describes the trend overtaking rural America. The land that once fed the populace is being used to house the masses. This phenomenon is being met with a variety of opinions – all of them strong one is going to affect us in the most harmful way. (Transition) Now that we have an idea what exactly urban sprawl is, let me inform you of the problems caused, starting with environmentally, then agriculturally and economically. II.
One of the strongest positions regarding urban sprawl belongs to that of those concerned with the environment. On such advocate is Kathryn Hohmann, the Sierra Club=s Director of the Environmental Quality Program. The Sierra Club is a national, grassroots environmental organization, with more than a half-million members. She stated in her testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that: AThe problems of sprawl can only be solved by a concerted and continuing effort at the local, state, and federal [email protected] Hohmann goes on to point out several of the main issues intertwined with sprawl -such as that of traffic congestion. She states that sprawl gives us no choice but to drive further to get home from work. Hence more air pollution. Worsening water pollution is another example that Hohmann gives. As more of the earth is paved, more toxic chemicals run off in to our waterways, degrading our water supplies.
Furthermore, habitat for animals is also being lost, every day. It is estimated that every year with the expansion of humans that approximately 7 species are made extinct and the list can go on!!!! (Transition) Now lets discuss agricultural issues. III Sprawl threatens our rural legacy, too. The American Farmland Trust reports that we are losing 1 million acres of farmland per year to sprawl. But how does this affect you? If acres upon acres of farmland is being devoured by developers, how and where are we going to grow our food.
Don Phillips, from the American Farmland Trust stated. Agriculture is too bad of a state already, both economically and socially, to be biting the hand that feeds us. . (Transition)Finally lets talk about the economical position. IV. Another not-so-obvious point that Hohmann makes is that urban sprawl has large economic effects on all Americans.
More streets, water lines, sewage services, schools, expanded police and fire protections are all paid for by the American taxpayer. So in other words higher taxes. Issues such as these deserve our attention and thought. However, there are more sides to this complex story. a. Not everyone shares this view however. Sam Staley directs the Urban Futures Program for the Los Angeles – based Reason Public Policy Institute.
Staley writes about his perfect suburban life – evening strolls through the neighborhood, children playing, chatting with neighbors. He then goes on to state: AWhat=s wrong with this picture? For the vast majority of Americans nothing. In fact, many aspire to these kinds of neighborhoods and living [email protected] This author stresses that policymakers and citizens need to look beyond the architecture and into the soul of the suburb. These are all valid points in their own right; however, Staley fails to ever address any economic, environmental, or agricultural issues. He shows how wonderful living in the suburbs can be, but never details any of the impacts these developments have on the rest of the world, specifically the environment, agriculture and environmentally.
Conclusion In conclusion Urban sprawl is an issue that affects every single American, from the taxes we pay to where we live. As the world population expands, the demand for housing increases. Because of institutions such as the Federal Housing Administration, Americans are finding it easier every day to buy their own homes. We collectively have more money to spend, and wish it on the living conditions we truly desire. However, these aspects are offset by the fact that we decrease our food supply and degrade our earth with every foundation poured, nail pounded, and real estate deal closed.
We cannot know what our actions today will do to our lives tomorrow. Only time will give us a definitive answer. Still, one must ask the question: will we be tearing down houses for land to grow food on someday? Environmental Issues.