urban sprawl

by BBayliff on December 1, 2015 - 12:01am

In the article “Just How Far Will Urban Sprawl Spread?” by Dave Levitan, he explains the impacts of explosive growth in the cities we live in. According to Levitan, “in 1990, 40% of the global population lived in cities, in 2010, we reached the 50% threshold, and the percentage is projected to jump all the way to 70% by 2050. The rapid Increase in population in cities will mean more cities, bigger cities, and of course more sprawl according to Levitan. The author states that “Urban sprawl increases the connectivity among urban habitats while simultaneously fragmenting non-urban habitats such as forests and grasslands.” This is a concern as our ecosystems are at high risk and there can be huge impacts on water pollution as cities in the southeast continue to grow at such rapid paces. The author stresses that urban sprawl is expanding in a big way. He states that, within the next 50 years the median expansion of urbanization in the southeast is believed the be at an astounding 139%. This rapid growth in urban sprawl concerns the author as he believes that temperature will rise 2 to 6 degrees Celsius and can destroy wildlife corridors. The author concludes by stating that we should fix the problem ahead of time before assuming that things will get fixed.


I think it’s a big problem to deal with. Our cities are getting bigger and more crowded and I believe that we need to start taking a more green approach before the problem becomes out of hand.




It certainly is evident that our global population is becoming urbanized and your post does a good job of providing statistics that demonstrate this process. You touched one of the impacts of urban sprawl being increase in temperatures. From my understanding this is largely due to cities becoming an urban heat island, which stems from human activities and the concentration of dark concrete that absorbs solar radiation rather than reflecting it. This causes an increase in temperature in the city.

Additionally, at the end of your post you bring for the notion that increased green activities would be beneficial. I would like to propose the implementation of green roofs, which will reflect sunlight and are a positive initiative toward greening cities. They are a way of using traditional vegetation to cover a roof. They turn a neglected urban space into something productive. This initiative will assist the mitigation that urbanization and urban sprawl has on its environmental surroundings.

Hi BBayliff,
Interesting post, I enjoyed reading it. Your post provided some very eye opening statistics. The projection that by 2050 70% of the population is going to live in cities is quite scary to me. Having such large and populated cities is going to have a tremendous impact on the environment. Pollution and habitat loss are personally the first two things that come to mind for me, but there are so many others. I agree with you and think that changes need to be made and a more green approach needs to be taken. Did you have any green solutions in mind?

Hi BBayliff,
I like your post a lot due to the constant facts. I had a rough idea about many of them before actually reading the post but I didn't realize how extreme the numbers really were. There are a couple things to consider that the author didn't really touch on (in my opinion). The whole idea of 70% living in cities by 2050 focus more on how rapid our population is growing and I don't think really the number accurately describes the future. 44% of the population worldwide lives in coastal areas and with increasing risks of sea level rises, many of these people are going to find themselves homeless and will have to take refuge in cities. With this surge of people results in larger cities getting even larger and GHG emissions having nowhere to go but up. I definitely think you're on the right track in terms of going more green. Do you think coastal communities are going to be threatened largely in the future?

Curious to hear your thoughts.

I really enjoyed how you specifically outlined the issues associated with urbanization, specifically the figures that you included throughout your summary. Although it is true that cities are expanding, urbanization may not be the only form of societal development that greatly threatens to exacerbate environmental problems. Another large issue to consider is the phenomenon of suburbanization. Like urbanization, this requires the destruction of natural areas for the creation of residences, roads, etc. However, unlike major cities, suburbs are quite spread out, and are usually not within walking distance of major city centers and services, creating a reliance on other forms of transportation, the most popular being that of cars or other personal vehicles. This is a huge problem, since cars are one of the most inefficient forms of transportation, and their use is only increasing. Although cities are blamed for greatly contributing to carbon emissions, they at least have a more efficient use of space, and allow their citizens to pursue less environmentally damaging forms of transportation.

We have become dependent on our private vehicles that we do not care about environment and we forget that earth is our home and every one should do every possible effort to keep it clean and protect it. We should try to use public transport or walk. Walking is also good for health and it helps to keep the body active. The amount of fossil fuel that cars produce is very high and it damages the environment along with the ozone layers. Cars make people lazy but still we ignore the problems caused by cars. Usage of car is usually where people live far from where they work or study but now it has become worse, people use their private car even if they live near by their work or school.
As citizen of earth, I think we should use try to use less private vehicles If it is possible take an apartment near work or school and walk by or use the public transport. This will help in keeping our body and home (earth) healthy.

King, J. (n.d.). How Does Car Pollution Affect the Environment & Ozone Layer? Retrieved December 6, 2015, from http://homeguides.sfgate.com/car-pollution-affect-environment-ozone-laye...

I completely agree with the author when stating that urban sprawl is expanding at a rapid rate and that the growing if cities and the moving of people to cities will without a doubt grow cities further and that that growing will fragment the lands and regions that around the cities. My view on the subject is that the growing of cities is scary and that if the population grows so will the amount of people living in cities thus exponentially making them larger. Urban sprawl means the destruction of natural grasslands and forests and all other original lands and farms which I find a very bad thing but there is a move to more hands-on and old fashioned things thus I have hope for the subsistence farm and the forest.

-Nick Gillam

I also agree with the author that urban sprawl is expanding at a very large rate as the number of people moving to these cities and already living in these cities is overall increasing the size of these cities. This in turn does create more and more fragmented regions that surround these cities. As well, the 2-6 degrees temperature increase mentioned is likely going to be due to intensification of carbon production from the people moving into the cities through factories, car pollution and power demand. Ultimately GHG emisions will go up in these highly concentration areas, which is another anthropocentric negative implication on global climate change.

I chose to comment on your article as it gave me a better understanding of what urban sprawl is. Urban sprawl can be criticized for causing environmental issues. Indeed, as I learnt in class it causes the loss and degradation of: adjacent agricultural land, natural habitats, water, air quality and environmentally sensitive areas. On top of that, as stated in your article, human population increases rapidly. In my opinion, one of the best solutions is to act as a community. In other words, citizens can give suggestions on how to make changes for urban cities. Acting as a society will make us become better. Also, more green space should be placed in urban cities. It is very important to have a lot of trees around us as it helps to control pollution. Indeed, trees absorb carbon dioxide. Also, they prevent floods and droughts.

The rapid urbanization of the global population can cause a big loss and disruption of many environmental sectors, such as the natural habitats and the air and water quality. The fast developing urban sprawl can be a major issue if not dealt with properly and I think the author is right to have concerns. The global urbanization cannot be stopped, and can only be merely slowed down, but what can be done is the way the cities control and utilize its energy sources. The mass urbanization of the population bring crowds to the cities, but every citizen can only do so much in gaining access to different kinds of energy sources and the way they live. That is why the control of energy sources are in a way destined to the population by the cities. And it’s the cities who must take a more green and environmental friendly approach to its use of energy and take into consideration the impacts of these mass waves of urbanization.

Urban sprawl at such a large magnitude as predicted is a major concern to the governments and people of the world. The question of how much consumption and accommodations to feed these predicted mega cities is often an overlooked topic when debating overpopulation. We simply will not have enough. If 70% of the world's population is suppose to live in cities by 2050, and most current population predictions peg population to be around 9-10 billion, then that will mean roughly 6-7 billion people will be predicted to live in cities. That seems like a crazy amount and that the world will need to do crazy amounts of accommodating to have all of these people live and function in massive metropolis'. If we do not act quickly to properly address this situation I fear multiple thresholds in various environmental faucets will be broken.

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