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What are the solutions to stop suburban sprawl and renew urban areas?

Better public transportation, tax breaks for businesses that re-locate or startup in cities....do you think the government or private industry should do more? Do either have a responsibility?

In case you couldn't tell, I'm writing a paper lol...I have my own ideas of course, I'm just looking for input and thought it would be an interesting topic to discuss.

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tax incentives to rennovate buildings in the center city area, or allowing for low intrest loans to rennovate old buildings would be one way to start. Here in Columbia, the city government took the initiative in getting the ball rolling, but now the private sector is investing with no government support. The dowtown area is seeing a major housing boom, with alot of redevelopment goin on. The key thing is that the private sector has to take over eventually. A government can't succesfully do everything. Columbia recently realized that in a semi failed project. The project was attempted several times by the city, but it was never successful, so the city is now going to split up the property to private developers. The project will get done in a matter of time because there is demand for it. Point being, governments need to start it, but they need to be encouraging tot he private sector, then the private sector must take over in order for there to be a successful rejuvination.

Now, don't go blaming me if thats incorrect or something and you get a bad grade ;) Just my thoughts.

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In my opinion the key enabler of suburban sprawl is cheap energy (specifically cheap gasoline). If you think about US cities before the age of cheap gas (or even European cities today), I believe it is clear that energy costs govern how spread out a city becomes. When (not if!) gas prices get high enough in the US, people will begin to desire residences and businesses closer together, possibly even within walking distance. Of course, that's providing these high gas prices haven't crunched the greater economy!

It's possible that local governments could attempt to encourage tighter cities with higher energy taxes, but more likely this will cause residents and businesses to flee. Only a national energy policy designed to restrict usage or a national shortage will cause any meaningful change.

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In addition I think we need to take zoning authority over a certain density away from the county/parrish goverments and force people to incorporate cities for that. It's not a magic cure, but it seems to me that county goverments have been getting into the city business. Many counties now have "metro" goverments, that are cities in pretty much every way. This leads to competition between municipals, with the county usually winning resulting in sprawl. I'd also like to see urban growth boundaries go along with this. That we have distinct cities with greenland in between.

You do run into the problem of property rights, but I think that's something that we can work out eventually. People would still have the option of incorporating their area into a city. In my plan they would still have to go through the process of making a UGB with the county or state.

Also, more mixed used zoning, less parking, better mass transit, gridded roads.

Highways as much as anything else has contributed to sprawl in America.

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Certainly cheap gasoline has lent itself to urban sprawl.  I am not sure if raising prices will do a great deal to curb it however.  In the past, when energy costs have risen, what happens is people start looking at alternative energy and/or high MPG cars rather than moving into the city.


I saw on the news that a study was done, and it showed that gas would have to reach $2.68 a barrel (or something to that effect) before they would consider switching their SUVs for more gas efficient vehicles. I'm not sure if that's here or a national average.

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