Date of Award
Master of Community Planning
More and more small and mid-sized communities are grappling with the problems associated with sprawl patterns of development. In most cases, these patterns are the result of a long standing practice in the planning profession toward the segregation of large areas of land into separate zones for home (residential) , work (industrial) and market (commercial) . This practice has led to the creation of a suburban pattern based on the physical application of this segregation in the form of the subdivision (residential), industrial or office park (industrial) and the strip center or shopping mall (commercial). It is a pattern of development that carries with it, the wholesale destruction of the natural landscape and a heavy dependence on the automobile as the chief mode of transit.
Many communities chose to combat the problem by increasing necessary lot sizes and reducing the size of allowable commercial and industrial uses. These tactics did not solve the problem. It just reduced the density of the sprawl and created a host of new problems. Larger lots consumed more land for private use. Affordable housing disappeared as larger homes were constructed on larger lots. A second (and in some cases even a third) family car was needed for commuting between both the workplace and the market place. The increase in automobile traffic increased both travel distances and times in many communities.
Several recent trends in both urban and suburban design have dealt directly with the problems created with segregated land uses and sprawl patterns of development - most notably Neotraditional Town Planning, Performance Zoning, and Rural Landscape Planning. While each design solution has features that make them unique, there are several common themes running through all of them; decreasing the segregation of uses through mixed use design concepts, increasing the variety and amount of shared common or open space, and decreasing the reliance on the automobile.
Clement, Daniel E., "BACK TO THE FUTURE: ZONING ALTERNATIVES IN THE SUBURBS" (1991). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 554.