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Smart Growth and Innovative Design: An Analysis of the New Community

January 2004

Citation: 34 ELR 10003

Issue: 1

Author: Francesca Ortiz

In the early 19th century, most metropolitan areas were compact, with strong downtown areas that provided not only retail, government, and other services, but also a variety of cultural activities. Although some of rich society lived in rural areas to escape the city's crime and health hazards, the demarcation between city and countryside was clear. Most people were forced to live and work in one area because of the lack of reasonable transport between city and country. It was not until the railroad linked the city to the countryside that suburbs began to develop.

The first areas that grew outside the central city were intended for the rich, with large homes built in secluded areas that maintained the quiet beauty of the countryside and excluded industrial use. By the late 19th and early 20th century, suburbs began to develop more rapidly as cities grew from an influx of immigrants and new forms of public transportation. The streetcar, for example, could transport more people and cover more ground, thereby enabling those with a more moderate income to work further from where they lived.

The author is a Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law; J.D. 1989, Harvard Law School. Work on this Article was supported by a research grant from South Texas College of Law. The author wishes to thank Roslyn West and KellyAnne Donnelly for their diligent research assistance.

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