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Urban Sprawl

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  1. Urban Sprawl POSC 140 Intro to California Gov’t and Politics Braunwarth

  2. Urban Sprawl • What is it? • Low density urbanization spreading into undeveloped areas • New housing tracts • Decentralizing urban centers • Dependence on automobiles • Abandonment of older communities

  3. Problems • Why continue to expand the suburbs? • Easier to build new infrastructure • But, short term gain has long term costs • Like what? • Loss of environment • Road Congestion • Air Pollution • Degradation of Inner City and older suburbs

  4. Population Growth • Urban Sprawl is fueled by population Growth: • CA now 32 million (doubled since 1960) • Added 6 million in 1980s • Plus 1/2 million/year in 1990s • San Diego County is now ~2,950,000 but is expected to reach 3,850,000 by 2010 • So Cal will go from 19 to almost 25 million (2 Chicagos in 20 years)

  5. Growth Options • Pro-Growth: • Rural and poor areas • Want more infrastructure, more jobs, more people • No-Growth: • Upper-Income areas • Concerned about environment, traffic, and NIMBY

  6. Smart Growth • Compromise: economic activity should occur in urban areas and preserve open spaces • Must reverse trend of restricting urban growth and promoting development in less regulated periphery • Higher Density housing/mixed use • Revitalize older communities as more desirable places to live

  7. San Diego Solution • San Diego history revolves around ranching, agriculture, and rural life • Threatened by haphazard urban growth • Don’t want to end up like LA or OC • San Diego will grow, question is how • Solution: Create urban/rural boundary • Force urban areas to revitalize instead of poorly planned inland development

  8. SOFAR plan • In SD County General Plan • outside boundary 40 and 80 acre minimum parcels • Protect watershed, agriculture, wildlife, scenery, tourism • Watershed is key: plants and open ground clean and filter water as opposed to runoff from asphalt, parking lots, and streets

  9. Endangered Species Act • Purpose: Conserve ecosystems of endangered species and • Prohibit “take” of species, including harm to habitat that impairs the species • Over 200 listed plant and animal species in San Diego • gnatcatcher, tortoise, kangaroo rat, etc. • One of 25 most diverse habitat areas in the world (desert, mtns, climate, etc.)

  10. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service • If want to develop land must file an Environment Impact Report (CA Environmental Quality Act) • If incidentally “takes” habitat of listed species, must get a permit from the fish and wildlife service • Must specify impacts, how to mitigate impacts, and alternatives so won’t reduce the species

  11. Single-Species Approach • Coastal CA Gnatcatcher • lives in coastal sage scrub • essentially put a brake on all development in CA • Single-Species approach wasn’t working • Needed to protect wildlife while preserving growth • Need a more ecosystem-based approach

  12. Multi-Species Approach • Habitat Islands in an Urban Sea • The greater the area preserved, the greater the number of species possible • So, need to preserve big areas • San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) • Allows for regional conservation

  13. San Diego MSCP • Voluntary Cooperation of many local governments in exchange for • Planning Certainty for future development (not species by species) • What about private property rights? • Are not unlimited: i.e. Zoning • short step from housing set backs and small signs to protecting open spaces

  14. Other CA Growth Issues • Electricity Crisis: Suspended some regulations to speed plant construction • Outraged environmental groups and NIMBY homeowners • Zero Emission Vehicles • “Brownfields” and need for Urban School property • Storm Water Regulations