Bright Lights on the Big City
Residents of New York, rejoice: Your city might be noisy, crowded, and crass, but it’s also the most compact megalopolis in the U.S. That’s right — the Big Apple ranked number one on Smart Growth America’s recently released list comparing urban sprawl in major metropolitan areas. Other cities that did well include, in order, Jersey City, N.J. (who knew?), Providence, R.I., San Francisco, Calif., Honolulu, Hawaii, Omaha, Neb., Boston, Mass, Portland, Ore., Miami, Fla., and New Orleans, La.; the worst offenders, by contrast, included Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif., Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, N.C., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and a host of other strung-out, hyphenated towns. The Smart Growth America report was the culmination of three years’ work studying residential density, integration of homes, jobs, and services, strength of downtown areas, and interconnection of streets. Aside from eating up land, urban sprawl is associated with severe air pollution and related health problems, increased automobiles use, and high rates of traffic accidents.