Sunday, 23 September 2012

Suburban Sprawl and other devistating results of the infamous Single Use Zoning Model

Suburban sprawl appears to be more prevalent in developing countries, such as is currently occurring in the major SADeC conurbations, due to increased and rapid urbanization by individuals, for possible improved financial rewards.

Suburban sprawl, an unfortunate result of environmentally unsympathetic town planning principals, is one of the biggest contributors towards mankind’s carbon footprint today, and even more so in developing countries, for various reasons. Suburban living, contrary to urban living, relies on a number of negatively impacting characteristics.

The infamous Single Use Zoning - The Cancer of our modern Conurbations

One of the primary negative causes of suburban sprawl and its subsequent impact on the environment and most probably the cause for all the subsequent negative implications, is the Single Use Zoning.

Single Use Zoning causes a segregation between land uses, effectively dividing residential suburbs from commercial and other use zones, usually by means of large tracks of land, and in the majority of cases, without any provisions of a public transit system such as trams and it has very limited, if any, provisions for pedestrians or cyclists.

As a result of this, residents’ places of work, places of recreation and places of worship or education, to mention but a few, are segregated from one another and in view of the absence of a properly integrated public transit system such as trams or pedestrian friendly facilities, the car becomes the only viable option to perform the most basic of functions, such as shopping or commuting to and from work or school.

The most effective substitute for the sprawl caused by the Single Use Suburban Zone model, is the Transit Oriented Mixed Use Urban Zone Model, incorporating a healthy mix of uses within one neighbourhood or building, linked by means of an effective public transit system.

Unfortunately, the Single Use Zoning model, although largely promotive of sprawl, is still the most feasible model available to property developers today, as it affects their profit margins the least.

But in the words of Christopher B Leinberger:

“Good urban architecture costs upward of 50 percent more than typical suburban buildings. In urban areas, residents and businesses demand a higher quality of building, since you are walking past them, not driving by at 45 miles an hour with the buildings set back 150 feet”

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