One of the defining characteristics of sprawl is a branching street pattern -- one in which cul-de-sacs feed residential streets, which feed local arteries, which feed thoroughfares, which ultimately feed freeways. It's a design that can work fine for cars, but not so well for people. I spent (or misspent) part of my childhood in that sort of neighborhood. There were houses that were literally 100 yards from my house as the crow flies, but nearly a mile by the road network. That sort of thing discourages, you know, walking and stuff. Which is one reason why people who care …
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Clark Williams-Derry is research director for the Seattle-based Sightline Institute, a nonprofit sustainability think tank working to promote smart solutions for the Pacific Northwest. He was formerly the webmaster for Grist.
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