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Should cities start blocking urban sprawl?

Ervin

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I've seen scattered discussions about this, but no specific threads, so here it goes:

Everybody hates urban sprawl, there are little to no advantages of it, but it exists because for some reason there is a demand for houses in the middle of nowhere. Cities can easily stop urban sprawl, but that has consequences. So my question is; do you think cities in the GTA should start preventing urban sprawl by restricting developers from building beyond specified city limits? Or do you think other methods should be employed, or none at all?

Advantages of stopping sprawl:
Smaller carbon footprints of citizens by means of less travel and more efficient homes
People living closer to each other
Everything is closer and easier to get to
Transit systems are more effective, more necessary, and return a bigger income

Disadvantages:
Skyrocketing property costs
infrastructure may not keep up with population growth
 

Yoshimura

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Perhaps if money wasn't mis-allocated early on towards massive road building by the government, we'd be living closer together... or using trains... err, something… unintended consequences, think about it. really :)
 

SunriseChampion

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Yes. Especially in Southern Ontario where we lose damn good farm land to sprawl.
 

Towered

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On a related note, Oakville plans to start building endless subdivisions north of Dundas street, which until now had been farmland. You'd think they would have learned by now.
 

scarberiankhatru

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Toronto's still building trashy sprawl out in Scarborough...we haven't learned, either.

"Blocking" sprawl isn't enough without a plan to redirect the growth and prevent it from moving just beyond the controlled area...or from not occurring. Portland has a reputation for combatting sprawl but it's not well-deserved, especially when you factor in the sprawl in Vancouver that Oregon doesn't have jurisdiction over.
 

adma

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On a related note, Oakville plans to start building endless subdivisions north of Dundas street, which until now had been farmland. You'd think they would have learned by now.
Ah, but they're *New Urbanist"...
 

andrewpmk

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The main cause of sprawl is people who buy houses in it. There is one easy solution to it: don't buy a house out in the middle of nowhere.
 

ganjavih

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I wouldn't say everyone hates sprawl. Lots of people I know can't wait to buy their large suburban home on their large suburban lot.
 

spider

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Everybody hates urban sprawl, there are little to no advantages of it, but it exists because for some reason there is a demand for houses in the middle of nowhere. Cities can easily stop urban sprawl, but that has consequences. So my question is; do you think cities in the GTA should start preventing urban sprawl by restricting developers from building beyond specified city limits? Or do you think other methods should be employed, or none at all?

Advantages of stopping sprawl:
Smaller carbon footprints of citizens by means of less travel and more efficient homes
People living closer to each other
Everything is closer and easier to get to
Transit systems are more effective, more necessary, and return a bigger income
Your assumptions may have some validity if everyone worked downtown but that is not the reality.

I think we need a definition of sprawl.
If I choose to live in North Etobicoke and work at the Airport am I a sprawler,
If I choose to live on Port Union Road and work in Pickering am I a sprawler,
If I choose to live on the Toronto Islands and work in Willowdale am I a sprawler.

Many people, myself included, prefer to live in the middle of nowhere as the suburbs have been so sensitively labelled. My chosen location is the result of having been raised in downtown neighbourhoods with all the attributes that you consider to be positives, I obviously don`t agree with your assessment.
 
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Ervin

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^^^When I say urban sprawl I mean the most commonly used definition which is: Building homes outside of city limits and expanding the area of the city

Also I really don't know what point you're trying to make.
 

scarberiankhatru

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I wouldn't say everyone hates sprawl. Lots of people I know can't wait to buy their large suburban home on their large suburban lot.
Although if you actually compare house and lot sizes in various areas, you'll find that many suburban houses are not large and sit on not large lots. You're certainly not going to get a big backyard in many new developments.

^^^When I say urban sprawl I mean the most commonly used definition which is: Building homes outside of city limits and expanding the area of the city.
There's a difference between growth and sprawl. City limits change, you know.
 

Pro-catastrophe

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^^^When I say urban sprawl I mean the most commonly used definition which is: Building homes outside of city limits and expanding the area of the city

Also I really don't know what point you're trying to make.
I'm not sure I understand this definition. Are you talking about city or town boundaries or are you talking about urban development boundaries within existing towns (obviously Toronto does not have an urban development boundary other than it's border)? I'm not sure if you are asking if towns like Aurora, for example, should stop approving new developments.
 

Hipster Duck

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Stopping sprawl isn't as easy as placing restrictions. Don't forget that in most of North America, the whole real estate development industry, the materials produced by suppliers, the trades construction workers are trained on, the planning protocols that are enshrined, the type of engineering practices studies, etc., etc. are geared toward a path dependent process of producing sprawl development. Not only that, but it is the only type of development that we've practiced - with some exceptions - for almost 70 years. It has transcended generations in a way that few technologies and societal arrangements have. Setting up growth boundaries is the equivalent of setting a mouse trap in a house that is virtually infested with mice - it looks like a visible solution but it hardly digs deep to get to the bottom of why our entire society is connected to this form of development.
 

scarberiankhatru

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Is there anywhere other than the Netherlands where some sort of growth boundaries actually accomplish anything?

The cities that are really sprawlling are those that are shrinking in population while expanding in size, places like Syracuse or Dayton.
 

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