Urban Sprawl in the Great Lakes Region, USA – May 31st, 201342.3N 83W
Urban sprawl can be generally defined as wide-spread, low-density development that consists primarily of strip commercial developments, such as malls and large office buildings, and housing subdivisions connected by new, wide roads and boulevards. The subdivisions are set apart from other development and built within a specific price range, and people are dependant on their cars to get them from one place to another. With sprawl, fewer people occupy more land and as the people spread out, so do the buildings, roads and houses.
The Great Lakes region is losing its rich farmland and other greenfields to urban sprawl at an alarming rate, and the environment and the residents are paying the price. Many cities of the Great Lakes region, such as Chicago (upper left, on the shores of Lake Michigan), Detroit (above, center, on the northwestern shores of Lake Erie) and Cleveland (southeast of Detroit, on the southwestern shores of Lake Erie), are seeing their businesses and residents move to the suburbs, forever destroying open spaces and leaving behind cities of abandoned buildings with fewer tax payers.
With little or no land use planning to protect greenfields, farm fields and rural countrysides and ecologically important habitats such as wetlands have been carved up. More roads were needed to connect the new development to downtown, which invited more development on the outskirts and the cycle continues today. As more people and businesses move out to former greenfields, fewer taxpayers are supporting older towns and cities, leaving them to deteriorate (click here for more information).