Friday, July 21, 2017

The Problem with Urban Sprawl is More than Abysmal Traffic Jams #Science #Health #Environment

Disclaimer:  the Rockhouse loathes urban sprawl as it represents the cheapest way to package people over the short run but the most expensive over the long.  There has been the suspicion of health consequences as well and that's the topic in the science on the matter.

This table shows the quality-of-life outcomes and the relationship to sprawl.

Credit: UT Arlington

The Costs of Sprawl, written by Shima Hamidi, executive director of The University of Texas at Arlington's Institute of Urban Studies and an assistant professor in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs, and Reid Ewing, professor at the University of Utah, originates in studies that were funded from National Institutes of Health and Ford Foundation.

Hamidi and Ewing used 21 criteria in evaluating quality-of-life issues among residents who live in major metropolitan statistical areas. This book shows that life expectancy, economic mobility, transportation choices, and personal health and safety all improve in less sprawling areas (See the attached table).  Book looks at quality-of-life concerns associated with urban sprawl

Hamidi and Ewing present some stark results but they have the numbers to back them.

People in compact, connected counties tend to have:

  • 3.6 percent lower risk of obesity;
  • 1.7 percent lower risk of high blood pressure;
  • 3.2 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease;
  • 1.8 percent lower risk of diabetes.

Also, for every doubling in an index score, life expectancy increases by about 4 percent. For the average American with a life expectancy of 78 years, this translates into a three-year difference in life expectancy between people in a less compact versus a more compact area.

Other criteria were more obvious. For instance, more people in the areas affected adversely by sprawl experienced a lot more time wasted in traffic. People in those sprawled areas also were 14 percent more likely to die from a fatal car crash.

Also, people in more compact, connected metro areas spend less on the combined expenses of housing and transportation.

- PO

The segue from this goes well past any political considerations since our only concern is infrastructure and any competent politician can get that part together.  Right now they don't seem to have a strong idea of what they need to be building so, typically, they don't build anything

The Rock City has been a favorite theme with the Rockhouse although it's been some while since tangling with the idea of building underground.  We can build it in three dimensions and tremendously reduce the distance between any two locations in the complex.  The idea of Internet connectivity solving the problem has not panned out since all it's really done was to allow people to get more distant with less depth to contacts and almost no apparent satisfaction.

The mantra goes back forever:  99% of success is showing up and the Internet does not count for that.

The tunneling plans of Elon Musk are highly-appreciated by the Rockhouse and they don't go for the full solution we would like in the Rock City concept but they do greatly facilitate people movement.  The Rockhouse observes China making tremendous progress in this regard and we get kind of snarked about the matter but we also observe no-one here is telling the politicians what to do and, as we have seen, politicians suck at deciding for themselves.   (Ithaka:  They Ask What Socialism Brings #Science #Traffic #Subways)

No-one will ever start dreaming about the Future if we don't give them some idea what's in it.

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