- A systemic Approach to Sprawl: intervening factors, existing relationships, emerging consequences and required public policies    click here to open paper content98 kb
by    Ainstein, Luis | luisai@fadu.uba.ar   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The present paper is aimed at discussing within a systemic approach the characteristics, causes and consequences of sprawl, as well as to identify the character of public policies necessary to prevent its further extension.
The present paper is aimed at describing and explaining the processes leading to, and the consequences of urban sprawl, as well as identifying a set of public policies able to redress such processes, thus abating their negative externalities.

Sprawl is conceived as a complex structural trait affecting urban settings, and particularly large agglomerates. It first came into being under the format of suburbanization processes, and then through periurbanization and even secluded, ‘incomplete’ urban developments, purporting a questioning, if not an outright denial, of the historical notion of City. Consequently, these phenomena implicate simultaneously both urban and regional areas, and formal and informal processes of urbanization.
In intraurban terms, sprawl can be described through the following main characteristics: the spread-out and physical discontinuity of urban sectors; a diminishing of average densities; the weakening of integrated central areas; a shift towards an individual, automotive, pattern of personal mobility; the deepening of socio-ecological segregation; and increasing sets of associated, but inarticulated, governmental jurisdictions.
Being a complex phenomenon, it implicates a diverse array of thematic sectors. But, furthermore, the multiple causal patterns of articulation among such sectors become of utmost significance.

The mentioned processes, then, recognize diverse causes. We can single out among them the following: demographic expansion; social differentiation; technologic change; economic growth; deepened social stratification; mounting rates of car ownership; worsened traffic congestion; generalized disaffections regarding city life; soaring stratification of land-prices; increased institutional segmentation, and deepened governmental retreat.

And, in terms of consequences, we can mention the far-reaching effects of sprawl in terms of decaying urban efficacy and integrated global urban efficiency, of aggravated global inequities, and the lack of social and environmental sustainability.

Such a diverse set of intervening factors, and of their far reaching consequences, merit multidimensional, sustained and thoughtful public policies aimed at setting an end to the elements underlying the tendencies of urban sprawl, as well as to ameliorate the already existing negative externalities of such processes.
sprawl and its causes characteristics of sprawl consequences of sprawl public policies and sprawl
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