Just below the fold on the front page of today’s Washington Post lies a very interesting article on sprawl in the West, particularly in Los Angeles. Turns out it’s much more dense than typically pictured in the public’s mind.

Citing the US Census Bureau, the article notes that the metropolitan Los Angeles area has density 25 percent higher than New York’s. Despite the “unforgiving restraints” the area is subject to (like, for instance, the fact that the whole place is a desert), residents just keep pouring in. It was necessity that led to the density.

The article is another lesson that “there’s more to density than meets the eye.”

There is also mention of a place made infamous by teens and their problems: the Newport Coast. Built at the high density of seven units per acre, the development leaves about 80 percent of its land as open space.

Some of the more traditional conceptions of suburbia return though.

A six-lane road feeds cars in and out of the development so efficiently, DeSantis said, that in the past nine years she has never seen it clogged with traffic….Distances here are measured by time in a car.

However, one gets the sense that even if gas were $15 a gallon, these suburbs would still have developed in more or less the same way. The median priced home in Orange County is $702,000.