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Urban Slums: an Introduction

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Urban Sprawl areas are big and complicated. They have been around for many years, and take up about two million acres of U.S. open space each year. Sprawl requires a car for even the smallest task and is not eco-friendly. Now there is a new system beginning to rise and that is new urbanism or smart growth. New urbanism is a smaller system that saves more open space, reduce the dependency of cars, and reduce pollution.

The first way that an Urban Sprawl area has a negative effect is the highway system. Highways are always congested with traffic. They use street plans that feed cars onto a few large roads, which leads to congestion in that area with traffic and pollution. It also isolates retail and residential areas which causes a car to be used for every single task. Roads are often widened to try and ease congestion, but this just attracts more drivers to the area and causes even more congestion. Statistics show that a two car family will make about ten car trips a day, and in one year, a person that has to travel about an hour to and from work each way will spend about twelve work weeks traveling to and from work. New Urbanism brings mass transit into the picture. Mass transit provides transportation by bus, subway or even walking to and from the persons destination. It requires less car trips, shorter commutes, and fewer highways. In the end, it also will reduce total pollution because there are less cars traveling on the roads.

The second area that New Urbanism improves is parking. Parking in an Urban Sprawl area is usually a large parking lot in front of the business. This causes the business to be pushed further away from the sidewalk. Residential parking is usually a driveway connecting to the street. This results in the house moving away from the road, which could lead to less use of the front yard. Another parking situation is parallel parking. It is discouraged in an Urban Sprawl area as it can be hazardous, and cause congestion when trying to park. New Urbanism offers parking in areas like along curbs, behind shops, or even in parking garages. Parking in these areas allows the shop to be right along the sidewalk, which can even allow walking to the store to be a safe commute. On street parking also allows walking to be safer, as it calls for a much less walk from the persons car to the store. Parking in a garage in a residential sense, allows the house to be next to the street, creating a sense of comfort to someone walking.

New Urbanism also helps with the distance from one destination to the next. In an Urban Sprawl area, a person may have to travel several miles before getting to one shop to the next, but in New Urbanism, it allows shops to be placed directly next to each other allowing a person to walk out of one store and right into the next. This can go back to parking behind a shop and able to go down the street from one store to the next, and the person never has to move their car.

Another improvement in New Urbanism is the street plan. In an Urban Sprawl area the street plan can be quite complicated and cause someone to lose a sense of direction. This can be seen in a lot of subdivisions, where it allows a very quiet subdivision because of the gridlocked main roads. A person needs a car to travel to do a simple task. The street plan also gives wide lanes and very few intersections, which can cause speeding. This makes it uncomfortable and unsafe to even attempt to travel by foot. New Urbanism uses the old main street design which eases congestion in areas and offers walking too. It gives many alternate routes for people to travel by car, and allows the streets to be narrower, which makes them easier to cross by foot. Many streets have sharp corners and many intersections which reduces the urge to speed. Many streets also are just north or south creating an easy sense of direction.

Urban Sprawl is seen all throughout the United States. Everywhere you turn you can see highway congestion that is backed up for miles. If you look at Atlanta for instance, many people have to leave their houses an extra two hours earlier to make it to work on time, and it is not even that far of a commute. This is because of the congestion that the highway system causes. Here on a local scale in Greenville it can be seen. It takes nearly an hour to travel down Woodruff Road. This is because there are hardly any alternate routes so everyone travels down the same road to get to their destination. Whitehorse Road and even Wade Hampton Boulevard are the same way. I read in the newspaper several months ago that Highway Eighty-Five is one of the most deadliest roads in the United States. This goes back to the congestion that happens on a highway, and the speeding that the street plan allows. Highway Ninety-Three in Liberty is a New Urbanism area. It has many shops down a strip with parallel parking and parking lots behind the shops. This is a much easier way to shop. I can bounce from store to store and not have to waste the gas of traveling by car, which really helps when gas prices are the way they are right now. I believe that if more areas convert to a New Urbanism type of area, it could actually reduce the demand of fuel, and lead to a lower cost of fuel prices, or even more lead to less pollution because there will not be as many car trips. It will also lead to shorter commutes for some jobs.

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Urban Slums: an Introduction. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 22, 2022, from
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