Innovative Solutions to Euclidean Sprawl
Citation: 31 ELR 11001
Improperly planned urban development has resulted in catastrophic sprawl.1 The present land use zeitgeist hails urban and suburban mixed-use zoning as the solution.2 Mixed-use zoning combines—rather than segregates—residential, commercial, and sometimes industrial land uses, and thereby decreases housing costs, decreases commuting periods, decreases vehicle miles traveled and air emissions, increases the efficient use of land and time, and increases consumer convenience.3
Despite the conceptual validity of these arguments, mixed-use zoning does not automatically decrease sprawl and often encourages it. This is because mixed-use zoning presents two different models of development: suburban mixed-use development and urban mixed-use development. Suburban mixed-use development combines residential and commercial land uses in the suburbs. This model often tends to foster sprawl by importing or replicating urban commercial uses in residential suburbs without adding or retaining housing in the city. In contrast, urban mixed-use development combines residential and commercial land uses in the city. This model generally reduces sprawl by increasing the supply of urban housing without exporting urban commercial uses to the suburbs.