people who live in a city have the dream of moving to the country.
They might desire peace and quiet, or decreased traffic, pollution,
and perceived crime. For these reasons and more, people are moving
out of city centers and into the outlying areas. As these people move
out, businesses follow. After all, people need grocery stores and
gas stations to satisfy their convenience-oriented needs.
these newer communities grow, housing and business developments
consume landscapes while inner city areas become more and more deserted.
Some people believe we should build a new business on a vacant lot
in a city before sacrificing more land on the edge of town. In fact,
there are some cities fighting for this to become a law.
Choosing Our Neighborhoods
we all have a right to live wherever we want? Dont we have
a right to see nature, streams, and wildlife out our windows? Some
people believe we do while others believe our wishes should be sacrificed
to reserve more open landscapes where humans don't live. Some experts
think there is a smart way to growto reserve some open space
yet also satisfy the desire to move to the country. Planning seems
to be the key and if our working landscapes are going to survive,
respect for the environment needs to be a part of that plan.
How Sprawl Starts
concern is urban sprawl. Urban sprawl happens when houses and businesses
leap frog over each other. An example might be a person who buys
a ten acres of land in the country not far from a town or city and
wants to build a house on it.
- The first step in doing this would probably involve clearing
the land to make room for the house. Trees or dirt may be moved
or removed. Water lines, sewer systems, power lines, and roads
might need to be added or extended to the area.
- Then development of the house takes place. When its done,
the owner has the beauty of the country with some of the luxuries
of the city. The expense to the owner and to the environment might
be high but, in this example, the owner thinks its worth
- Urban sprawl takes place when other people also want to buy
land and build houses or businesses on that same countryside.
Urban sprawl takes place as these areas develop outside a city
or town. Rural sprawl happens when small acreages pop up all over
landscapes such as the mountains of Colorado and the prairies
of northwestern Iowa.
Sprawl and the Environment
ecosystems in these landscapes can suffer from sprawl when they
are disturbed or destroyed. Landscapes also suffer when open spaces
disappear or when erosion takes place due to over-development. Results
like this affect our quality of life and the future life of our
If we are going to preserve our landscapes for future generations,
we need to find a balance between the country life dream and the
ecosystem nightmare. How do we do this? A clue is in understanding
the landscape and planning community growth.
do you think?
By definition, working landscapes have people living on them. How
should we accommodate people moving into a landscape?
Law of the Land
a house in a town or a farm in the country can guarantee a couple
is a Conservation Subdivision?
conservation subdivision is a housing development in a rural setting
that has small housing lots close together, and common open space
where the natural features of the land are maintained to the greatest
Guide to Country Living
power, sewer, and paved roadsthese are all things that city
dwellers enjoy. But for those who live in the country, the comforts
of modern living are not as easy to obtain.
NewsHour Online Links
Oregon has an "urban
growth boundary." This boundary is intended to limit the
growth of the city into the rural (and agricultural) countryside.
People for and against the growth boundary discuss the issue.
Jungle Eats Up Coastal Beauty"
As urban areas spread out, natural environments are going to be
swallowed up. Learn what may happen to urban and rural areas in
the next twenty years.
This article from ABCNews.com
An online exploration into urban sprawl and a "new urbanist"
neighborhood. Requires Flash.
Oregon has been working on "planned growth" since 1973.
Research the planning goals and other related topics.
National Geographic News reports on "green-based" urban
growth and the difficulties with zoning and land use.