Sprawl vs. Smart Growth

sprawl.jpgSuburban sprawl, the strip malls and car-oriented subdivisions that have come to characterize most American development, is regarded simultaneously as a pestilence and as a natural free-market phenomenon. So which is it? The trendy “smart growth” movement claims to have some answers, but all too often tries to fight sprawl with ever more draconian regulation. A Better Earth has a pretty well balanced look: (article here) Among the ironies – sprawl development is not as free-market as one might think, with developers rarely paying the true cost of infrastructure.

If the government quit subsidizing developments either way, then the market would really be free to determine whether or not large, sprawling suburbs are the best way to grow. And that’s the kind of growth that might actually be smart.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.