Monday, August 13, 2007

Welcome to Sprawl Watch...

I recently submitted my latest law review article "All Sprawled Out: How the Federal Regulatory System Has Driven Unsustainable Growth" for publication.

Following up on that, I've decided to start this new blog: Sprawl Watch.

Our primary goal will be to find articles and other information that exposes the harms of sprawl.

Let's go ahead and start today with this one:
Converting farmland into exurban subdivisions requires a tremendous amount of new infrastructure -- everything from new and widened highways to new sewer and water systems. The cost is compounded by residential layouts that make pedestrian travel either difficult or impossible -- how many exurban residents can walk to school, church or the grocery store? It’s a lifestyle that’s expensive to maintain, and every dollar spent on a multi-lane highway to accommodate exurban commuters is one less dollar that’s spent to maintain existing roads and bridges.

Choosing to live far from work, school, church, shopping areas, etc., consumes vast amounts of resources, and infrastructure could be built and maintained at a much lesser cost if more people lived in Minneapolis and St. Paul and fewer people lived in Stillwater and Hudson. It’s easy to view the rubble of an Interstate highway bridge and conclude more money must be spent on infrastructure. The hard part is coming to grips with how much our lifestyles really cost.