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Urban Sprawl and Climate Change

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“Edward Lorenz put it, ‘climate is what you expect, weather is what you get’” (Allen, 2003) Nowadays, we are no having the weather that we expect, because of the global warming that humans are making, that is causing the climate change, and that is the temperature is changing from a year to another, in this essay will talk about one of this causes.

The amount of these beautiful planned neighborhoods around the world used to increase dramatically, and that what it called “Urban sprawl” that mainly started in America, which is the main reason of the climate change. But in the present after noticing the damage that our global is facing, as planners found ways to save the environment and the global, such as the skyscrapers, but that does not mean that the sprawl stopped.

Therefore, sprawling needs transportations and ways that connect the city together, and the pollution that the automobiles are making is one of the main reasons of climate change. So, it is like a pyramid the base of it is the urban sprawl that needs transportations that cause the climate change. And Montreal, is an example that shows all the sides of the sprawling, starting with an artificial island, ending with the way that the planning was done.

Although Urban sprawl has a lot of benefits for the economy growth, in a development city however, it has many negative consequences for human being and the environment.

Basically urban sprawl is good for economy but atrocious for the climate, The US is a perfect example for the urban sprawl and climate change, the political scientist George A. Gonzalez explained how sprawling is causing the climate change, but at the same time, it is great for the economy of the countries, since automobiles and its fuel are business that makes the country’s economics much more important (Gonzalez, 2007), as well as, the urban construction that make the city sprawling which might create the suburbs that people will like to get more than the center of the city for the price and the calming (Gonzalez, 2007), so, that results the higher energy use in transportation and the heating and cooling of spacious homes on the urban periphery. (Gonzalez, 2007)

And in the history of the US, other than the country economics landlords wanted to invest in their lands to gain more money out of it, and to make their land more important, not just by doing normal buildings but to have more opportunity of doing business, for example, retail (Gonzalez, 2007). And the automobile came to make transportations easier, then urban sprawled more rapidly “In 1980 the average distance to work for US residents was 13 kilometres. By 1990, that had increased to 15”, he wrote (Gonzalez, 2007). But the government did not think about the environmental consequences, that cause climate change.

But when the effects started to show, and the climate change got worse, they did a protocol, called “`The Kyoto Protocol` which negotiated and signed in 1997 by 38 countries, put the creation of a regulatory regime to curb the emission of climate change gases onto the international political agenda”, (Gonzalez, 2007)to deal with the climate change through it. And there is three businesses that George mentioned about which are “the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)” (Gonzalez, 2007)

“The biggest challenge will be to withstand the pressure throughout the world to suburbanize the country as well as the towns, with modern systems of mass production and distribution it is all too easy to proliferate man’s modern technical products; but, if the countryside is not to be overrun, the need to maintain nature reserves of wilderness and plain, coastal it is essential to create both urban and belt and sea, is all-important, rural aesthetic standards to avoid the universal spread of subtopic” (Abercrombie, 2005).

“Whatever the changing terminology, urban sprawl has been a matter of concern to planners for many years.” (Allen, 2003) Many reasons nowadays, requests planning new ways that encourage re-urbanization and re-investment in some existing cities. (Allen, 2003) One of these reasons is the traffic congestion, as it requires the need to plan a new strategy to decrease the need for travel in a developed area. (Allen, 2003) Also, social characteristics are becoming missed in the developed urban populations. In addition, climate change plays a huge role in the demand of investing to re-urbanization and re-investment as well as the loss of non-renewable natural resource. (Gonzalez, 2007)

Researches has been made by the “Potsdam institute for climate change” shows that urban sprawl is one of the main causes of climate change (Allen, 2003), especially the inefficiency use of the energy that is used in the transportation that damage the ecosystems (Allen, 2003). “Gerhard Petschel-Held” and his team are working on a dynamic Modeling in order to prove a beneficial tool for the understanding of the “dynamics of urban Sprawl and in policy formulation” (Allen, 2003)

Montreal is a metropolis that didn’t use to have a lot of building with more than 3 floors that is why , Montreal is an example of urban sprawling that increased exponentially since 1951 (Naghmeh Nazarnia, 2016), and this sprawl needed a public transportations, so, the underground metro that was done to connect the metropolis together and some surrounded cities. took out of the tunnels digging, they did with it an artificial island “Nuns island”. Therefore, Montreal sprawled more, it sprawled so it connected. Montreal with Laval with one bridge same thing for Brossard and Montreal. In 1966, around 45% of the land had a high or very high level of connectivity, and almost 38% in 1981. By 2010 only 6.5% of the landscape was connected and 73% of the territory possessed no or low connectivity. (JerômeDupras, et al., 2016)

Moreover, focusing on transportation, we can notice that in Montreal a lot of people are still using the cars on fuel, however they must be reducing the usage of fuel by carpooling or the usage of electrical cars. Also, the amount of constructions that Montreal city face every 6 months is also bad for the environment where they should manage to have construction every 5 years at least. Constructed neighborhoods are planned by those people; therefore, planning is the core of the urban sprawling, nowadays, planners are dealing with the sprawling problem more carefully and ecofriendly.

In my opinion, skyscrapers concept is a good solution for the sprawl and the climate that changing because of it, they are made to consume less area but having more floors, which it has around more than 12 floors that contain more units, instead of consuming more areas just for 1 or 2 floors. So, the contemporary planning is the normal planning but modified by taking care of planet and the climate, as well as, trying to keep more green areas, and by trying to make the neighborhoods more sustainable, “Skyscrapers have the potential to improve the availability of residential living space, providing more properties without development that eats into large volumes of land or green space.” (The pros and cons of the skyscraper , 2018)

Griffintown in Montreal is an example of the contemporary planning, which is most of it still under construction, it is an area full of residential skyscrapers, and modern architecture and ecofriendly, with small apartments that fit more people in the building, and the new generation is preferring of buying there unexpected, because it is a perfect choice for small families, that made the prices increase sharply in a year, which is a good step for the economy, and stop the dramatic sprawling that cause the climate change.

In conclusion, urban sprawl was one of the main reasons that caused the global warming and the climate change. In my opinion, managing this sprawl by planning new ways that encourage the re-urbanization, such as new strategies to decrease the need of travel in the developed cities.

Also, as we can see nowadays, a lot of people are going through protests in order to acknowledge people about the danger that we might face if we didn’t manage the urban sprawl. In my point of view the government has a big role in helping to manage the urban sprawl by making more skyscrapers as Greffentown’s concept and managing an eco-friendly transportation that decrease the pollution in the environment.

In the future decade, planners and engineers should be working together on sustainability and provide an ecofriendly automobile such as using the Solar-powered for electricity and fuel consumption.

Works Cited

  1. Allen, M. (2003, February 2003). nature. Retrieved from
  2. Gonzalez, G. A. (2007, january 24). Urban Sprawl, Global Warming and the Limits of Ecological Modernisation.
  3. Abercrombie. (2005). Urbs pandens final report. In town and country planning (p. 1933). Oxford: Oxford university Press.
  4. JerômeDupras, JoanMarull, LluísParcerisas, FrancescColl, AndrewGonzalez, MarcGirard, & EnricTello. (2016, april). The impacts of urban sprawl on ecological connectivity in the Montreal Metropolitan Region.
  5. Naghmeh Nazarnia, C. S. (2016, january). Accelerated urban sprawl in Montreal, Quebec City, and Zurich: Investigating the differences using time series 1951–2011. Retrieved
  6. The pros and cons of the skyscraper . (2018, April 17).

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