The End of Suburban Sprawl?

by James McClister

A new study suggests we may be seeing the beginning of the end of suburban sprawl.

Since the early 1940s, many of the United State’s most prominent metro locations have been characterized by sprawl, which refers to the often frantic development of suburbs. However, a recent study from Christopher Leinberger and Patrick Lynch of The George Washington University, suggests developers may be consciously moving away from drivable suburban areas for what’s now being called WalkUPs, or walkable urban areas.

Already, WalkUPs, which are categorized by much higher density and a mix of diverse real estate types, have had a significant economic impact, the study points out, as cities are putting more and more money into substantial downtown and suburban town center redevelopment, which includes converting regional malls into mixed-use developments and investment into building and updating various transportation options, like bus, rail and bike routes.

Leinberger and Lynch postulate a collective shift towards walkable urbanism considering recent growth patterns, but there are some areas that are already ahead of the curve.

Check out the graph below to see how our city is doing:

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